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COVID-19 pandemic poses challenges for counting Yamhill County's homeless population this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal procedures for many institutions, and the same is true for the Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP) as it prepares to conduct its annual count of the homeless.PMG FILE PHOTO - The COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal procedure for many institutions and the same is true for Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP) as it prepares to conduct its annual count of the homeless.

Last year's Point in Time (PIT) count tallied 1,428 people in Yamhill County who were living in shelters, unsheltered locations or "couch surfing." This year's count would normally occur on the last Wednesday of January, but the plan is changing slightly to account for the pandemic. There will not be in-person canvassing along streets or at drop-in sites to protect people on both sides of the count from the virus.

"YCAP is the lead agency in planning and implementing the homeless count, with the assistance of many community partners and volunteers who conduct surveys with persons experiencing homelessness on the day of the count," a release from YCAP said. "Survey methods include both a count of those living in shelters and those living unsheltered on the streets, cars or other places not meant for human habitation. Typically, surveys are conducted in shelters, at drop-in site locations, through community partners and through street outreach teams who canvass each community in Yamhill County."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allowed for organizations to request an exemption for completing their count during the pandemic, and while YCAP will take up this exemption, they still hope to get as accurate a count as possible under current conditions.

"While we will not be conducting surveys by canvassing the streets or at "drop-in" sites, we still believe the homeless count is of vital importance to our community and we will be going forward with three main areas of focus this year," the YCAP release said. "We will still be conducting a sheltered count, working with every shelter provider in Yamhill County to complete forms with those staying in shelter/transitional housing facilities.

"The survival aid that would typically be distributed to those living outside during the homeless count will still be distributed throughout Yamhill County by YCAP Street Outreach staff and through partner agencies that are already engaging with unsheltered folks … YCAP staff will be making dedicated efforts during the week of the Homeless Count and beyond to follow up with each unsheltered person who opted to provide contact information."

A group of YCAP volunteers is also prepping supplies such as hygiene and food kits. While it may look different than previous years, an accounting of as many homeless individuals as possible will be conducted.

For more information, email Mandy Gawf at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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