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“Point In Time Count” Gauges Homeless Population

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Today marks the 'Point in Time Count'... a chance for the community to gain a gauge on the homeless population.

This event happens nationwide every year in January.

While some may not want to be identified as homeless, this effort is crucial in providing agencies with funding for homeless prevention.

Crystal Bloss is one of the many volunteers participating in the Point in Time Count.

"I had community service project through drug court, I wanted to think of something I could do... what better than thing to do than work here... volunteering for more than a year, I am familiar with the folks," Bloss explains.

Motels, vehicles, doubling up with family, as history has shown us, that's where a number of the homeless population reside, but what really shocked volunteers at the Point in Time Count, is that a number of the homeless live actually down in Rock Creek Canyon.

"You really don't even know about something like this because everyone just usually lives their own life and they don't really care and it's sad," Bloss says.

As of the end of January, there are 273 children identified as being homeless within the Twin Falls School District.

185 students are doubled with family, 49 live in motels, 6 live in temporary trailers or car, while 33 are in shelters.

"I let the families know the resources that are available that we can help support their family to be more stable...We have a grant through McKinney Vento that does assist so when we have a child identified under McKinney Vento, it provide student fees, paying for clothing, school supplies, I have some kits that we have purchased through the grants that are awesome. Through that, qualify for free lunch," explains Joann Gemar.

Gemar works as the at-risk coordinator for the Twin Falls School District.

She's also the homeless liaison.

One of her concerns is busing the homeless students.

"Transportation is really key to keeping that child in the same school they were enrolled originally before they became homeless," Gemar points out.

Giving the student a little more stability, when other aspects of life cannot be controlled.

The following is the total number of students currently enrolled under McKinney Vento, not including the students that have moved during the school year.

Twin Falls High – 7
Canyon Ridge – 27
Magic Valley High -14
O’Leary Middle – 16
Robert Stuart Middle – 27
Bridge Academy – 12
Sawtooth – 5
Morningside – 10
Bickel – 23
Oregon Trails – 20
Lincoln – 40
Harrison – 17
Perrine - 22



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