It’s time to check in on the homeless population in Pierce County.
About 50 volunteers will take a one-page survey this week and scour encampments, meal sites, shelters and medical clinics. They’ll ask questions about where the transients last slept, whether they have a form of income and how they ended up on the streets.
The Department of Community Connections and the Tacoma-Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness have conducted the count for 17 years. The results help officials to better understand the resources needed in the community and to apply for grants.
“The count isn’t scientific. We know we’re not going to count every person out there,” said Rae Anne Giron, who coordinates volunteers for Community Connections. “This is to gauge where we’re at.”
Last year, volunteers counted 1,997 transients in Pierce County, 192 of whom had no shelter. About 750 of them were children.
Organizers said the number of homeless has mostly remained level for the last few years. They don’t expect to see drastic changes this year.
“This year, the survey is especially important as we try to understand the impact of the continuing economic changes in our communities,” said Troy Christensen, homeless administrator for Community Connections.
Volunteers still are needed. Needed even more are donations that can be handed out to the homeless contacted during the count Thursday and Friday.
Items such as clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, socks, hats, duffel bags, bottled water, nonperishable foods, can openers, towels, toiletries, flashlights and batteries can be dropped off to Catholic Community Services, Phoenix Housing Network at 7050 S. G St., Tacoma, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.