The homeless among us

The numbers for this year’s homeless census are in. As expected, they are much higher than last year’s, yet still lower than what area experts believe is accurate.

The total number of homeless in Butte County counted during the Jan. 25 survey was 1,791, more than double the 2006 tally of 778. The majority, 1,144, were counted in Chico. Oroville had 327, Paradise 227 and the rest of Butte County 93.

Organizers of the census, which is necessary to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, credit extensive planning and volunteer work for the increase in the numbers.

The results were presented at the Tuesday (June 19) meeting of the Greater Chico Homeless Task Force. Meagan Meloy, a program coordinator for the Butte County Office of Education, noted that nearly a quarter of the homeless surveyed said they were working, 32 percent said they needed mental-health services and 404 were children.

The first meeting to start planning for next year’s census will be July 10 at the Torres Community Shelter. Contact Corla Bertrand at 891-9048.