Clark County 2023 homeless count begins

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:33 PM PST
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VANCOUVER Wash. (KPTV) - It’s an annual census that gives Clark County an estimate of how many people are experiencing houselessness in the community.

On Thursday, volunteers fanned out across Clark County to start counting how many people are living on the street as part of the 2023 Point in Time Count (PIT). The 2022 count found more than 1,100 people experiencing homelessness in Clark County. That was more than a 30 percent increase from 2020. To help with the count, the Council for the Homeless hosted Project Homeless Connect, a chance for those experiencing houselessness to get connected to services and be added to the PIT data.

Jim and Sabrina Thayer volunteered because they know what it was like to be houseless after experiencing it themselves. Hand in hand, the couple reflected on their last year without a place to call home to FOX 12.

“We were hoping back and forth between different motels and finally in April, the rates went up to high so we got back on the streets,” Sabrina said.

The couple was two out of the more than 1,100 living on the streets counted in Clark County’s 2022 PIT count.

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“We were in a little cubby hole next to a market and that’s where we were,” Jim said. “It was terrible. It was cold we were bickering at each other, we were yelling. It was not fun.”

But this year, they’re on the other side of the table at this year’s Project Homeless Connection, acting as the ones connecting those who need help to services.

“It’s very important for the homeless so they can get back on their feet, get a haircut, get a nice warm meal, get stuff they didn’t know they have,” Sabrina said.

The couple said they know the feeling of finally getting help. Last year, an organization helped them get into one of Vancouver’s transitional housing communities. Then in September, they moved into a tiny house, the couple now calls home.

“If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t know where we would be right now,” Sabrina said.

The couple said organizations that helped those experiencing houselessness are a lifesaver. They also know Clark County’s point-in-time count helps these organizations know what resources are needed to help those living on the streets.

“Our heart goes out because we were there at one time,” Jim said. “If you look down on everybody, one day it could be you and I want everybody out there to know that we care.”