Local

Count of county’s homeless increases

A point-in-time count of homeless people in McHenry County found an almost 36 percent increase since last year.

Using guidelines and definitions of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the survey found 309 homeless people throughout the county Jan. 22, compared with 228 about the same time in 2008.

“We felt that here, so it’s not surprising,” said Scott Block, Public Action to Deliver Shelter’s division director.

Seventy people were at the PADS emergency housing site while the count was being done this year, compared with 44 in 2008.

Since the beginning of its fiscal year in July, PADS has served more than 230 people and 70 children. The count, however, only included people on the particular day it was done, so it might not be completely reflective of the true number of homeless people, Block said.

For example, people who are “doubled up” with friends or relatives were not included in the total, he said.

“It doesn’t capture the complete picture, but it’s a testament that shows there are 309 people that we counted just amongst the homeless programs in the county,” Block said. “That’s still 309 too many.”

This year, a PADS overflow site for women and children was added at the Free Methodist Church in Woodstock.

“We’re about halfway through our [fiscal] year, and it’s on par to shatter last year’s numbers,” Block said. “We usually see about 300 to 400 throughout the entire year, and we’re above or at that now.”

The count was conducted by McHenry County Continuum of Care for the Homeless Committee, which includes PADS, Pioneer Center, Turning Point, and other agencies.

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