The Community Resource Center of Stanwood Camano is taking the lead in Stanwood in the annual state Department of Housing and Urban Development 2019 Point-in-Time count on Jan. 23.
The PIT count, as it often is called, is conducted on one day in January when communities across the United States join together to conduct a count of people experiencing homelessness.
CRC Executive Director Joanna Dobbs said the resource center initially pledged to lead the count for Camano Island residents.
A few days later, Island County reconsidered; Joanne Pelant, Island County housing coordinator, will lead the Camano Island count on Jan. 24.
“Participating in the count helps bring funding to our community to assist our most vulnerable citizens,” she said last week. “But we could not envision only collecting this vital information for half of the community, so instead we offered to take on two days of this national effort to ensure all community citizens are counted.”
Due to the nature of our two-county community, Dobbs said the count will be done on two separate days: Wednesday, Jan. 23, for Stanwood and Thursday, Jan. 24, for Camano Island.
To ensure all individuals are counted, the resource center will tap into the community for help — volunteers are needed to help complete surveys on either or both days. Anyone interested can contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-629-5257.
In the past, individuals experiencing homelessness in our community have been identified through regional efforts and through separate county-specific efforts.
In 2018, for example, Snohomish County led the survey in Stanwood. Volunteer surveyors reported three people experiencing literal homelessness, according to data analyst Alex Vallandry with Snohomish County Human Services. One of the people was age 28 and two were 33; two slept in a vehicle and one out-of-doors. Two of the three reported substance abuse as a disabling condition.
“If we combine these efforts (regional and county) and tap into the amazing generosity and spirit of our community members, we will be able to get a better idea of the issues our community is facing,” Dobbs said.
Homelessness is only one of the many difficulties facing area residents that CRC is involved with.
As part of its partnership with the community Making Life Work initiative, CRC is organizing events to help spread awareness about the impact poverty and generational poverty has on community members.
The first event is called Poverty 101 and is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Community Resource Center, 9612 271st St. NW, Stanwood. Dobbs, who has a master’s degree in social work, will lead the training session.
“This training will provide data, research and hands-on information to help our community better understand the challenges of those living in poverty and the societal barriers that perpetuate the problem,” Dobbs said.
The second event, called Poverty Simulation, will be held noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in the Stanwood Middle School cafeteria. United Way of Snohomish County will lead community members through the experience.
“It is a profoundly moving and interactive experience that allows individuals to ‘walk in the shoes’ of someone who is facing poverty,” Dobbs said. “This simulation is very engaging and eye-opening.”
To participate in either workshop, sign up online at crc-sc.org/register.