The brutally cold temperatures this week are a sobering thought as local officials get ready to perform their annual homeless count in the community.  The annual survey conducted by St. Louis County's Public Health and Human Service Department is scheduled to happen on Thursday, January 27.

By its definition, the count is performed in partnership with a variety of community service providers, agencies, and volunteers.  The survey is conducted as a 'point in time' count of the homeless population in St. Louis County.  The county describes its purposes as "to identify people who are experiencing homelessness and not staying in a shelter on the night of January 26".

Using that definition as a standard, volunteers canvas the community to seek out "unsheltered" individuals and families or people whose primary nighttime residence is not fit for habitation.  Examples of this provided by the county include cars, parks, abandoned buildings, storage units, bus and train stations, campgrounds, ice houses, or in the woods.

Additionally, the count looks to identify "doubled up" households - sometimes referred to as "couch hopping" - or those staying with family and friends on a short term basis.  People living in these situations meet the State of Minnesota's definition of homeless.

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This annual survey conducted by St. Louis County plays an important role .  Not only does it identify and define the scope of the homeless problem in our area, but it also helps determine federal funding.

As part of their outreach, the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Service Department will staff the following locations in an effort to provide information and conduct surveys from individuals:

  • Community Connect - Damiano Center - 206 West 4th Street, Duluth
  • Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior Street
  • Union Gospel Mission, 219 East 1st Street, Duluth
  • Salvation Army, 215 South 27th Avenue West, Duluth
  • MAC-V, 5209 Ramsey Street, Duluth
  • AEOA, 702 3rd Avenue South, Virginia
  • Salvation Army, 507 South 12th Avenue West, Virginia

People can also provide information by calling CHUM's Street Outreach:  218-461-8505.

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