Homeless count event held at Jubilee Park

An abandoned camp found in the forest at Old Stage Park during the Point In Time Homeless Count Thursday, Jan. 25 by volunteers.
(Photo by Laura Mancuso, Illinois Valley News)

More than 100 people came to participate in the annual Illinois Valley Point In Time Homeless Count held at Jubilee Park Pavilion Jan. 24.
Volunteers and professionals from many Josephine County community-based organizations were in attendance to help gather surveys from individuals and families that are unhoused in the Valley. The PIT Count is a count of unsheltered and sheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January.
The nonprofit Illinois Valley Living Solutions organized the event and provided camping supplies along with Grocery Outlet gift cards purchased with a grant from AllCare Health. IVLS volunteers also provided a warm meal on the rainy day.
IVLS Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Connie Dillinger said, “There was plenty of nutritious foods for our clients to choose from. Many clients enjoyed themselves with breakfast and lunch.”
Other service agencies were in attendance to provide resources and information to the unhoused that included UCAN, Veterans Administration, Hearts with a Mission, Mid Rogue Foundation, Maslow Project, DHS, Journey Home Support Services, Options, HIV Alliance and Max’s Mission.
A housing advocate from Mid Rogue Foundation, Lisa Michaelis, said she is coming back to the Illinois Valley soon for appointments with three Valley unhoused residents to help them navigate housing options.
Volunteers also went out to known campsites in the Valley to look for unsheltered folks to make sure they were surveyed for the PIT.
The PIT survey is available on a mobile app called “Counting Us” and a paper copy of the application was available in case surveyors did not have proper cell service in remote areas.
Many participants reported living in tents remotely on public and private land and specifically traveled into downtown Cave Junction to be surveyed and to get the needed camping supplies to stay warm this winter.
The reason for the annual PIT is to help address local needs. Nationally, the information is gathered for the Annual Homeless Assessment Report given to Congress so that policymakers know the extent of the problem.
If you would like to help unhoused people stay warm this winter, you are welcome to bring camping gear, coats, boots, socks and gloves to the Pop Up Public Health Wednesdays at the Jubilee Park Pavilion from noon – 2 p.m. If you have questions you can email ivlivingsol@gmail.com or call or text 971-415-0281.
If you would like to assist IVLS with finding Valley unhoused residents a pathway home, you can donate funds, apply to volunteer or sign up for the IVLS newsletter by going to https://ivlivingsolutions.org/.