[Hpn] Volunteers conducting census of the homeless in Lake County

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 24 Jan 2008 03:02:18 -0500


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Volunteers conducting census of the homeless in Lake County

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=3D120147&src=3D3

By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff
Seeking to enumerate a problem most people don't speak about, volunteers =
will comb Lake County tonight to locate and count homeless men, women =
and families.
The annual census of the county's homeless population will begin about =
10 p.m. and run through about 2 a.m. Friday.

The count is a necessary step for the county to receive more than $1 =
million in federal funds. But it's also an opportunity for officials and =
homeless-assistance groups to learn about the local homeless population.

They'll ask the homeless people they find to answer an 11-question =
survey designed to gather information about their living conditions, =
such as why they became homeless, how long they've been without =
permanent shelter and if they served in the military.

The census and survey can help homeless-assistance organizations modify =
their programs.

"If we go out and find many homeless women, but the only shelters we're =
providing are for homeless men, clearly we're not doing something =
right," said Joel Williams, chairman of the Lake County Continuum of =
Care advisory group.

Homelessness has been on the rise in Lake County in recent years. About =
496 people were counted last year, up from 414 in 2006, county records =
indicate. The total was 387 in 2005.

About 33 volunteers, broken into nine teams, will traverse the county =
tonight. Some will focus on areas in which homeless people are known to =
congregate, such as parts of Waukegan and North Chicago, Williams said. =
Others will search larger suburban or rural areas.

"We try to cover the entire county," Williams said. "We've been able to =
cover a lot of ground."=20

The teams will search parks, forest preserves, commercial areas and =
other public spots. They won't go into residential areas -- such as =
apartment building lobbies -- unless they get a specific tip and have =
permission, Williams said.

When the volunteers come across homeless people, they'll drive them to a =
shelter in Grayslake or Indian Creek so they can be somewhere warm for =
the night.

"It would be nice if we found nobody. That would mean everyone has found =
some sort of shelter," Williams said. "Unfortunately, that has not been =
the case."

Homeless people found outdoors and those already in shelters will be =
counted, Williams said. People in both groups will be asked to complete =
the survey, too.

The census and survey results should be available next week.

Homelessness in Lake County

Volunteers will count Lake County's homeless population tonight for an =
annual survey. Here are the results of previous censuses.

Year Homeless people

2007 496

2006 414

2005 387*

2004 558

2003 624

*The U.S. government changed the definition of homelessness in 2005


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<DIV>
<DIV class=3DstoryHeadline>Volunteers conducting census of the homeless =
in Lake=20
County</DIV>
<DIV class=3DstoryHeadline>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3DstoryHeadline><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=3D120147&amp;src=3D3">http:/=
/www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=3D120147&amp;src=3D3</A></FONT></DIV>
<DIV class=3DstoryHeadline><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3DstoryByline>
<DIV style=3D"FLOAT: left">By Russell Lissau | <SPAN =
class=3DstoryByline2>Daily=20
Herald Staff</SPAN></DIV>
<DIV style=3D"CLEAR: both">&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV style=3D"CLEAR: both">Seeking to enumerate a problem most people =
don't speak=20
about, volunteers will comb Lake County tonight to locate and count =
homeless=20
men, women and families.</DIV></DIV>
<P class=3DNews>The annual census of the county's homeless population =
will begin=20
about 10 p.m. and run through about 2 a.m. Friday.</P>
<P class=3DNews>The count is a necessary step for the county to receive =
more than=20
$1 million in federal funds. But it's also an opportunity for officials =
and=20
homeless-assistance groups to learn about the local homeless =
population.</P>
<P class=3DNews>They'll ask the homeless people they find to answer an =
11-question=20
survey designed to gather information about their living conditions, =
such as why=20
they became homeless, how long they've been without permanent shelter =
and if=20
they served in the military.</P>
<P class=3DNews>The census and survey can help homeless-assistance =
organizations=20
modify their programs.</P>
<P class=3DNews>"If we go out and find many homeless women, but the only =
shelters=20
we're providing are for homeless men, clearly we're not doing something =
right,"=20
said Joel Williams, chairman of the Lake County Continuum of Care =
advisory=20
group.</P>
<P class=3DNews>Homelessness has been on the rise in Lake County in =
recent years.=20
About 496 people were counted last year, up from 414 in 2006, county =
records=20
indicate. The total was 387 in 2005.</P>
<P class=3DNews>About 33 volunteers, broken into nine teams, will =
traverse the=20
county tonight. Some will focus on areas in which homeless people are =
known to=20
congregate, such as parts of Waukegan and North Chicago, Williams said. =
Others=20
will search larger suburban or rural areas.</P>
<P class=3DNews>"We try to cover the entire county," Williams said. =
"We've been=20
able to cover a lot of ground." </P>
<P class=3DNews>The teams will search parks, forest preserves, =
commercial areas=20
and other public spots. They won't go into residential areas -- such as=20
apartment building lobbies -- unless they get a specific tip and have=20
permission, Williams said.</P>
<P class=3DNews>When the volunteers come across homeless people, they'll =
drive=20
them to a shelter in Grayslake or Indian Creek so they can be somewhere =
warm for=20
the night.</P>
<P class=3DNews>"It would be nice if we found nobody. That would mean =
everyone has=20
found some sort of shelter," Williams said. "Unfortunately, that has not =
been=20
the case."</P>
<P class=3DNews>Homeless people found outdoors and those already in =
shelters will=20
be counted, Williams said. People in both groups will be asked to =
complete the=20
survey, too.</P>
<P class=3DNews>The census and survey results should be available next =
week.</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxheadblack>Homelessness in Lake County</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxtextbold>Volunteers will count Lake County's homeless =
population=20
tonight for an annual survey. Here are the results of previous =
censuses.</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxsubhead>Year Homeless people</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxtext>2007 496</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxtext>2006 414</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxtext>2005 387*</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxtext>2004 558</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxtext>2003 624</P>
<P class=3Dfactboxnote>*The U.S. government changed the definition of =
homelessness=20
in 2005</P></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>

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