On January 28th, advocates and volunteers from 28 agencies conducted the annual homeless count in Lane County. They hit the streets and parks, looked under bridges, and checked in with shelters and churches. Lane County Human Services released the numbers Tuesday.
At one point in time, 1,473 un-housed people were counted. These are the “literally homeless” who stay in emergency transitional shelters or locations not meant for habitation-- like cars or doorways.
19% fewer homeless people were counted this year than in 2013. The decrease is attributed to more “alternative living situations” like rest stops and Opportunity Village Eugene. But there were increases too.
Pearl Wolfe, Lane County Human Services Supervisor oversees the annual Homeless Count.
Wolfe: “We had twice as many people who disclosed that they had a mental illness as we did in the previous count and there was a 21% increase in people presenting with alcohol or substance abuse issues.”
Wolfe says this year’s count revealed fewer homeless veterans.