Community help needed to complete homelessness survey

Did you know that an average American is three paychecks away from
homelessness? Where you would go if you suddenly found yourself
homeless tonight? If you are lucky, your sister has a big house and you
can call her. You might even call your annoying brother-in-law if you
were really desperate. Maybe you would have to stay in your car or in a
friend’s fish house.  Do you know there is only one shelter in
Cambridge that serves homeless families in this area?

Did you know that an average American is three paychecks away from homelessness? Where you would go if you suddenly found yourself homeless tonight? If you are lucky, your sister has a big house and you can call her. You might even call your annoying brother-in-law if you were really desperate. Maybe you would have to stay in your car or in a friend’s fish house.  Do you know there is only one shelter in Cambridge that serves homeless families in this area?

Each year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires a survey to be taken of the homeless across the nation. HUD provides federal funding to homeless programs in the U.S. as a result of this survey. The annual count is directly correlated to the funding Central Minnesota, including Isanti County, receives to address homeless issues. In the past, Central Minnesota has been extremely undercounted.

Help is needed to provide accurate numbers for Isanti County. The survey, known as the Point in Time (PIT) Unsheltered Survey, for the night of Wednesday Jan. 26, needs to be completed with every homeless person/family that is/was homeless on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

In the next few days, a dedicated group of volunteers will be hitting the streets to bring these surveys to anyone that might encounter a homeless person. If you are a service provider, church employee or know of someone who is homeless in Isanti County, contact Mary Westlund at 763-691-0121 ext. 5 or mwestlund@sherbtel.net to get survey information. The survey is nine short questions, takes about 10 seconds to complete and is anonymous.

Even if you have a sister with a big house or an annoying brother-in-law to stay with, they would like to make sure you are counted too. The issue of homelessness in Isanti County is bigger than most people realize and they need to do all that we can to end it.

For more information on the survey for Isanti County, contact Mary Westlund, Isanti County PIT Coordinator, 763-691-0121 ext 5 or mwestlund@sherbtel.net

Westlund is also the Program Manager/Family Educator for New Pathways, Inc.  New Pathways provides shelter to homeless families with children from Isanti, Chisago, Pine, Kanabec, and Mille Lacs Counties. If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, please contact New Pathways at 763-691-0121 ext 4,for assistance.

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