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Agency reports an increase in the county's homeless population over the past year

In a unique move brought on by the delay of official statewide numbers, the Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP) released its tally of homeless people earlier this month. The Point-In-Time (PIT) numbers give insight into the number of people dealing with homelessness in Yamhill County as compared with 2018.

The total number of homeless people in Yamhill County, according to these raw numbers, is 1,433. That is an increase of 47 individuals, or 3.4 percent, since last year. The numbers were tabulated in late January.

YCAP took the unusual step of releasing the numbers due to a delay in the release of statewide numbers. Normally, YCAP would consult with the state before putting out the raw data, but the extended delay called for its release.

"We've had the raw data since two weeks after completing the count," YCAP Executive Director Alexandra Hendgen said. "We wanted to release them for transparency and let people know we are aware of the trends going on."

According to the YCAP report, 426 people are completely unsheltered, 731 were precariously housed or "couch surfing" and the remaining 276 were in shelters. Data on mental illness, substance abuse and the number of unaccompanied youth will be released by YCAP once the statewide numbers come in.

"YCAP is fortunate to be based in a community that truly cares about the individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness," Hendgen said. "YCAP helps people become self-sufficient through many programs like our three shelters for homeless families and children, our Stabilization Program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families, AnyDoor Yamhill, Rent Well and others."

Hendgen also noted that YCAP's current focus is determining how it can best support the people it counted, as well as the people that might have slipped through the cracks. Much of its work focuses on linking homeless people with resources in the community as well as being a resource for them.

Undergoing the count and releasing other statistics is an effort to inform the community about a growing issue, and to inspire compassion and interest in helping out. Hendgen said she hopes the release of the numbers is transparent and viewed by the community as a call to action in order to help these people.

"Each year when our agency does this, it's in an effort for our community to get a better snapshot of the situation," she said. "It also informs our teams in our various programs about what the need might be in the community, and we plan to work with the state wherever we can once those official numbers come out.

"What's been encouraging for YCAP is the partnership we've been able to have and the discussions around homelessness. Our agency has worked really diligently to connect with shelters across the county and start bringing together more information."

For more information on YCAP as an organization, as well as updates on the release of the official statewide count, visit www.yamhillcap.org.


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