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Staff photo, Brooke Self
Recipients of Desert Manna's food pantry wait outside during the lunch hour. Desert Manna along with New Hope Village will help conduct the 2013 Point-in-Time Homeless Count in the Barstow area.

City prepares to count the homeless in national survey


BARSTOW • Local officials in Barstow are preparing for the upcoming national Homeless Point-in-Time count, a survey conducted every two years to calculate the number of homeless throughout the country on one specific day.

Besides those living in shelters and transitional housing, volunteers will assist in finding and counting persons living in areas not fit for human habitation.

Under the direction of the San Bernardino County Office of Homeless Services, a group of community leaders for the first time will head the count locally.

Sheri Randolph, Executive Director of Desert Manna, Angela Pasco and Tracy Falls from New Hope Village, and Detective Jeremy Bledsoe from the Barstow Police Department will direct the count.

Local volunteers are needed to assist on the day of the survey and a mandatory training will take place on Jan. 8th at 3 p.m. at 220 E. Buena Vista. The actual count will take place Jan. 24 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Randolph said volunteers will be assigned to a specific area and go out in teams. They will also help pass out hygiene kits consisting of soap, hand wipes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant as well as energy bars.

The survey will show not only where the homeless are located, but what areas of the country are seeing the most. It will also measure how the demographics of those who are homeless have changed in the last two years.

According to Randolph, the bulk of homeless people in the country are in California because of the weather, she said.

Findings from the report are collected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development which uses the data to distribute federal funds. The numbers also help officials develop community and countywide strategies to end homelessness.

For more information on volunteering contact Desert Manna at: (760) 256-7797.

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