Homeless youth shelter says PIT data doesn't tell all

New data shows a decrease in homelessness in Jackson County. The Continuum of Care released its annual 'Point in Time' report or PIT.

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 6:50 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- New data shows a decrease in homelessness in Jackson County. The Continuum of Care released its annual 'Point in Time' report or PIT. 

Some local agencies don't necessarily agree with the numbers.

The report was put together back in January with the help of a group of about 75 volunteers. They surveyed different parts of the county targeted the Bear Creek Greenway, transitional housing shelters, community meal sites and others.

The report shows 712 people experiencing homelessness were identified. That's a decrease of 2.8 percent from 2018.

37 percent of those experiencing homelessness were unsheltered, meaning they were living in cars or tents. That percentage has decreased 8 percent since the 2018 PIT count. 

Executive Director Mary Ferrell said it's important to keep in mind that the data is according to the Housing and Urban Development, or HUD's, definition of chronic homelessness. Ferrell said it doesn't include many of the youth that the Maslow Project serves.

"I think the data doesn't show the true need and it doesn't show the extent of the need, it sort of under-represents that we have less homeless individuals in our community than we know that actually do and have a need for and need services to support," Ferrell said. 

Ferrell said the Maslow Project has a different definition of homeless. It serves any child who doesn't have a fixed nighttime residence. That could mean couch surfing, being doubled-up or sleeping in cars or hotels. 

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