Volunteers this week are preparing to undertake the annual census of homeless people, and need some supplies and support.
The county-wide Point In Time Count takes place Thursday, Jan. 24, and it determines how much funding the county will get for homeless assistance. In the Sky Valley, volunteers will assemble at Take the Next Step on Sams Street in Monroe at about 6 p.m.
Getting an accurate count is always difficult, as the homeless aren’t always easy to find when they aren’t in the most heavily-used camps. Some live with family, some live in cars, some seclude themselves.
So this year, volunteers are trying a new strategy. At 6 p.m. at the Monroe Covenant Church, next door to Take the Next Step, they will offer a community dinner and raffle.
“It is our hope to get the word out about the dinner, so the homeless, who we may not otherwise identify, will come to us, and we will get a better count,” said Janos Kendall, director of the drop-in center at Take the Next Step, a resource center for people at risk or in crisis.
Now volunteers are seeking items for the raffle, as well as things to offer homeless people as they conduct the count throughout the night in East Snohomish County.
Items needed for the raffle include: snack packs, gift cards, tents, sleeping bags, tarps, blankets, flashlights, sweatshirts (men’s and women’s size medium and up), scarves, hats, gloves, and socks.
Items needed for hygiene kits include: soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, towels, deodorant, shaving cream and razors.
To volunteer or to drop off donations, call Take the Next Step at (360) 794-1022.