Oregon – Organizations across Oregon have recently conducted the annual “Point-In-Time” count in an effort to address homelessness with a data-driven approach. This initiative, carried out by each county in the state and across the nation, aims to provide a snapshot of the number of homeless people, gathering essential data that will help improve support and services effectively.
Community Connection of Northeast Oregon (CCNO), the main provider of homelessness services in Baker, Grant, Union, and Wallowa counties, spearheaded a unique approach to get an accurate count. Near the end of January, CCNO hosted Houseless Resources fairs in each of these four counties. These events were designed not only to count the local homeless population but also to directly offer support to those in need.
CCNO employed three distinct methods to count the homeless residents:
- Sheltered Survey: This method accounted for individuals who had shelter on the night of January 24, 2024.
- Unsheltered Survey: This approach focused on those who were not sheltered on the same night.
- Unsheltered Observation: This involved noting individuals seen in the community who did not participate in the surveys.
The final numbers for each county in Eastern Oregon were as follows, according to CCNO:
- Baker County – 17
- Grant County – 31
- Harney County – 46
- Malheur County – 359
- Umatilla County – 169
- Union County – 57
- Wallowa County had the lowest count with 4 individuals.
CCNO acknowledges that the count may not fully capture the entire homeless population, as not everyone is willing or able to be counted. Despite this challenge, the resource fairs served as a valuable opportunity for CCNO to distribute essential items like food, sleeping bags, and tents. Moreover, these events facilitated connections between homeless individuals and various services, including behavioral health support, drug addiction treatment, and counseling.