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Countywide Census of Homeless Thurs., Jan. 23

On Thurs., Jan. 23 the Point in Time Homeless Count (PIT) will take place across the nation and across Skagit County. Led by Community Action of Skagit County, 30+ service providers and Coalition to End Homelessness partners will participate, and 40 community volunteers will help with outreach. To assist with access, and to promote bus ridership for all community members, Skagit Transit is offering a free ride day on Jan. 23. As thanks for answering a few simple, anonymized questions, survey participants will receive a thank-you bag including food, socks, cold weather gear, and other items donated by local businesses, individuals and churches.

Free meals and the thank-you bags will be available at the following locations on Thurs., Jan. 23.

Free and open to the public:

  • Friendship House Café, 108 Snoqualmie St., Mount Vernon: Breakfast 7:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m., and dinner 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
  • Anacortes Senior Center, 1701 22nd St: Pancake Breakfast 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
  • The Kitchen Table Anacortes First Baptist Church, 2717 J Ave.: Dinner 5:30 p.m-7:00 p.m.
  • Helping Hands Food Bank & Family Promise of Skagit Valley, 9386 Fruitdale Rd. Sedro-Woolley: Bag lunch noon-2:00 p.m.

Free and for specific populations:

  • Youth only, ages 13-24: Northwest Youth Services & YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter: 2021 E. College Way Suite 216, Mount Vernon. Refreshments all day, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Free portable phone chargers available.
  • Veterans and their families: American Legion (Post 91) & Community Action Skagit Vets Connect: Stand Down, 721 E. Fairhaven Ave. #1914, Burlington. Lunch 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Free pet care, food pantry, haircuts, Community Action Housing Resource Center, Veterans Assistance Fund, and more.

The Point in Time Count is a one-day count of the homeless mandated by the federal government to each county. Community Action and 30+ partners of the Skagit Coalition to End Homelessness facilitate the count each year. The count provides a baseline number that helps our community and local coalitions when creating plans to fight homelessness and increase affordable housing opportunities. Some state and federal funding is tied to the count.

“Point in Time Count is just one of several ways we have to assess the depth and breadth of homelessness in Skagit County,” said Elizabeth Jennings, Community Engagement Manager at Community Action. The survey is very short, Jennings said, with the primary question being, “Where did you sleep last night.”

According to HUD definitions of “literally homeless,” 296 homeless households in Skagit were counted in 2019, 338 in 2018, and 321 in 2017. “The Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction includes kids and families who are couch surfing and sharing accommodations in their definition of homeless,” Jennings said. In comparison to PIT numbers, the 2017-2018 school year, 769 school children were reported as experiencing homelessness. Additionally, of the 1,289 households seeking assistance at Community Action’s Housing Resource Center in 2018-2019, 789 households and 1,554 individuals received assistance. “Homelessness is complicated, and only through multiple data sources – and hearing the stories of our unhoused neighbors – can we get a true sense of the scope of needs. This helps our local governments, nonprofits, churches and others plan for future services,” Jennings said.

The Point in Time Count was made possible by the generosity of many local groups, including: Skagit County, Community Action, Coalition to End Homelessness, US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rotary Club of Skagit Mount Vernon, Skagit Transit, Marathon Oil, Molina Healthcare, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and other individuals and groups.

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