A count of the homeless population - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A count of the homeless population

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The data collection is for "Point in Time" a count of the homeless population in a number of cities across the country The data collection is for "Point in Time" a count of the homeless population in a number of cities across the country
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Walking her dog, Cassandra Markley passes through the STA Plaza when she comes across two tables, both with fliers advertising data collection. When she approaches, a woman sitting at one of the tables says the city is "trying to get an idea of who is homeless and what sort of resources they need." After hearing that, Markley sits down and answers a basic questionnaire.

The data collection is for "Point in Time" a count of the homeless population in a number of cities across the country.

"We are trying to take a snapshot of how many individuals in our city are experiencing homelessness at any given time," says Director of Community and neighborhood Services, Johnathan Mallahan. "That data is very important to us as we track our progress and the effectiveness of our programs in helping reduce those numbers and meet the needs of the people here in Spokane."

The information obtained from the questionnaire that Markley filled out will be compiled and used when the city requests grants or when they decide which programs would benefit from more funding. For Markley the count hits home, or lack there of, because she has been homeless for nearly a year.

"It's hard, it's really hard," says Markley.

She found herself on the streets after moving out of her parents home.

"I didn't like the way I was being treated so I moved out and decided to take care of myself by myself," says Markley.

Markley's story is only one of many heard at the Plaza on Thursday. The details may be different in some but the endings are always the same. Mallahan says the count provides valuable information but ultimately only having one chance to get a snapshot of the homeless population doesn't allow the city to paint a clear picture of the homeless community is facing.

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