MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. — Teams of volunteers in Siskiyou County are looking to find people experiencing homelessness.
With a lack of resources for the homeless in the county, volunteers say counting how many people are out there is essential to get them the help they need.
Last year, was the first year Siskiyou County participated in the federal census.
They discovered 160 people in the county were homeless, but volunteers say many more are out there needing help and resources.
“People experiencing homelessness… are very reluctant to ask for help,” said Glenn Harvey, volunteer for Siskiyou County Homelessness Coalition.
Mount Shasta, a city of over three thousand, has the second highest homeless population in Siskiyou County. That’s according to a 2018 census.
But the closest homeless shelter is over 37 miles away.
“Siskiyou County, in the past, has never been able to have access to additional resources to support things like food banks, mental health, public health,” said Crystal Aston, volunteer Siskiyou County Homelessness Coalition.
It’s why volunteers are out on the streets Wednesday.
They’re also visiting gas stations, fast food chains, anywhere that people might be.
But it’s not an easy feat.
“We’ll be walking through parking lots looking at some vehicles that look like some folks have been living out of those,” said Aston.
Volunteer Glenn Harvey has been sitting at a local cafe all day handing out meal vouchers to those in need.
“Looking for them and meeting them wherever we can find them,” said Harvey.
He says the 160 people counted as homeless in Siskiyou County last year isn’t even close to how many are actually out there.
“Because of the hidden nature of the problem and the reluctance of people to come forward,” he said.
This work, making sure this small town gets its fair share of funding to help those who need it most.
Last year, Siskiyou County got a hundred thousand dollars in federal funding. They’re hoping this year, they can devote even more money to resources for the homeless.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia.
She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.