Teams will be set up in a variety of locations across St. Louis County on Thursday in an attempt to count the number of unsheltered homeless.
The "Point-in-Time" survey seeks to determine how many individuals and families were “unsheltered” on the previous night, said a news release from the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department. That means they spent the night in places “not fit for habitation,” such as a car, park, abandoned building or storage unit, bus or train station, campground, ice house or in the woods.
Surveyors also seek to determine the number of homeless living in shelters. In addition, those who are “doubled up” — staying with family or friends on a short-term basis — fit Minnesota’s definition of homeless, according to the news release.
The annual survey helps define the scope of the problem, the news release said. It also provides data used to determine federal funding awarded to fight homelessness.
The count is as thorough as possible, said Will Wilson, the county’s coordinator, but it inevitably will miss some of the homeless. Last year, the count totaled 204 unsheltered individuals, compared with 148 in 2018. But more survey sites have been added this year across the county, he said, with locations chosen based on where requests for services have taken place.
In southern St. Louis County alone, 1,185 households are currently on a list of those needing services, Wilson said. That doesn’t mean all are unsheltered, but it is a measure of the number of people in precarious circumstances.
Dozens of volunteers will be conducting the surveys, Wilson said.
In two Duluth locations, the surveys will take place Wednesday night: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 219 N. Sixth Ave. E., and at the Harmony Club, 2424 W. Fifth St., in the old Lincoln Park School. Ordinarily, the centers open only when the temperature is expected to drop below 10 degrees. Conditions will be milder than that Wednesday night, but both centers will be open for the sake of the count, said Lee Stuart, executive director of CHUM.
During the day Thursday, surveyors will be at the following locations:
“Community Connect” event, Damiano Center, 206 W. Fourth St.
American Indian Community Housing Organization, 202 W. Second St.
Duluth Public Library, 520 W. Superior St.
Duluth warming center at CHUM, 120 N. First Ave. W.
Lake Superior Community Health Center, 4325 Grand Ave.
Leech Lake Duluth Area Office, 202 W. Second St.
LifeHouse Drop-in Center, 102 W. First St.
Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, 5209 Ramsey St.
St. Louis County Government Services Center, 320 W. Second St. (central client area)
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, 702 Third Ave. S., Virginia
Bill’s House shelter, 210 Third St. N., Virginia
Access North, 1309 E. 40th St., Hibbing
Government Services Center, 320 E. Miners Drive, Ely
Scenic Rivers Health Services, 20 Fifth St. SE, Cook
13071 Nett Lake Road-Suite B
New Moon, 1224 White Pine Circle, Tower
The public can also provide information by calling CHUM’s street outreach at 218-461-8505.
This story originally contained incorrect information about the number of people in St. Louis County needing services. It was updated at 9:08 a.m. January 22, 2020 with the proper information. The News Tribune regrets the error.