Counting the Homeless
The tenth annual Point In Time Study is going full out in El Paso County. It started Monday morning. Up to 20 locations that help the homeless are filled with survey takers asking people the extent of their homeless situation. These surveys will eventually translate into more than six million dollars of federal money that will eventually make its way into El Paso County and services to homeless civilians and veterans.
Tony Polston has been homeless for seven months. He doesn't make any excuses for how he's gotten to this point in his life, "Here I am, it's a culmination of poor choices. I take responsibility." He says the services that have helped him and others are desperately needed. Tony doesn't believe this will be a permanent situation, "I'm hopeful. I'm one fo the firm believers that this too shall pass. It's not going to be forever."
Jonathan Dickerson is not homeless but relies on the help that various agencies have been giving him, including a daily hot meal at the Marian House Soup Kitchen. He told me when he talks with people in the line who are homeless, "It touches me a lot to see others who are homeless." Dickerson is an Army veteran who served some of his military stint at Fort Carson.
Anne Beer is with the Pikes Peak United Way. She told me that this study is an integral part of the area's strategy to deal with the homeless. The number of homeless ranges around 12 hundred in El Paso County. It includes veterans and their families Beer told me another statistic that not only includes the homeless but of those who are living on the poverty level and below, "Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 percent is at or below the poverty level in our community. If we are at 600 thousand people in El Paso County, that's about 120 thousand people."
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