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Homeless count in Sunnyside next Thursday

Next Thursday, Jan. 28, has been set as the date for a homeless survey to be conducted in Sunnyside.

It's part of a Point in Time Survey planned by The Homeless Network of Yakima County.

The idea is to get a sense of how many homeless people there are in Yakima County.

Last year's survey showed there were 498 homeless people in Sunnyside alone. A total of 1,314 in Yakima County were counted as homeless during the 2009 survey.

For purposes of the survey, homelessness is defined as living not only on the street, but in transitional housing or "couch surfing" with friends and relatives.

This will be the sixth annual Point in Time homeless survey in Yakima County.

This marks the second year that the event will feature extended services for the homeless at St. Joseph's Parish, 907 S. Sixth Street in Sunnyside.

Because of the survey's availability of transportation and free services, such as dental exams, offered for the first time last year, more homeless people were attracted to the Sunnyside homeless count. As a result the 498 counted last year represented a dramatic increase from the 219 people counted in 2008.

The services this year will again include free medical exams, as well as a free lunch served all day and free care packages.

The survey is an anonymous one-day count of people in Yakima County who are homeless.

For more information about the survey, call 837-6689.

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