Fewer homeless counted than in ’09: Arnold

The addition of first and second stage housing has helped reduce the number of homeless people in Mission, speculates a local community services worker.

Jeff Arnold coordinated and organized the Mission 2011 Homeless Count, which took place over a 24-hour period March 15-16, and said there appeared to be fewer people camping outdoors than in 2009 when the last count was held.

Just under 30 volunteers went out in groups of two to six for an average of three-hour shifts, said Arnold. The teams visited sites like Union Gospel Mission and went out into some known areas where homeless congregate.

Final numbers are still unknown, and a firm count should be released within a month, he added.

Arnold noted the numbers won’t be perfectly accurate because pride keeps many without a home from admitting they live on the streets.

The count is used to determine the adequacy of services for the homeless, said Arnold.