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Regional News

Spokane Homeless Census Is Underway

homeless_census.jpg
Doug Nadvornick/SPR
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Spokane’s annual point-in-time survey of homeless people began last night [Thursday]. The week-long count is mandated for cities that accept money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tija Danzig is the homeless programs manager for the city of Spokane.

She, her fellow city staff members and a small army of volunteers surveyed people in shelters, warming centers and meal sites. Danzig says more than 140 people attended training sessions for the purpose of helping with the survey.

“You know, I think people are really taking note of the issues around homelessness," Danzig said. "They’re understanding it a little bit better and wanting to have an impact. They’re able to come, survey with us, have some really meaningful conversations and understand homelessness even better and engage in the larger system as we go throughout the year and, I hope, be return volunteers that can help bring some clarity to the complex issues around homelessness.”

For the second year in a row, the surveyors used a phone app to collect answers during their interviews. Their data was immediately sent to a central system and monitored by people who will collate and analyze the data.

The count will continue through the end of the month.

During the next several days, the city will sponsor events to connect with young people and veterans who are homeless. It will hand out donated items such as coats, boots and personal hygiene products to those who attend. You can find times and places of those events on the city’s homeless blog.