ACCESS to count homeless population in Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — More than 700 people experienced homelessness in Jackson County in 2018.

1 in 3 are now chronically homeless, and that number is expected to increase this year.

That’s why ACCESS and volunteers hit the streets Monday night, in hopes of getting that number down by letting the homeless know about the services they can receive in Jackson County.

“We want to see how we can connect people with appropriate housing and other support services they need,” said Constance Wilkerson of Jackson County Continuum of Care, “and by taking this count we know more of what the services that are needed.”

Wilkerson said the annual count helps them understand what leads to homelessness, so they can bridge the gap in services and provide resources to those in need.

“We feel like it’s important to do it every year so that we can realize trends and changes of gaps, barriers to services, those kind of things,” said Wilkerson.

Last year’s count was the highest it’s been in seven years, and they’re anticipating another increase in 2019.

But with counts like these, the hope is to get more people back indoors.

“That’s our goal, is to end homelessness in Jackson County,” said Wilkerson, “and people won’t have to necessarily be homeless, that we can help to prevent that episode of homelessness from happening in the future.”

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