The York County Military and Community Network will be conducting the Point in Time  homeless survey Wednesday in Sanford and Thursday in Biddeford and will be dispensing some food, clothing, blankets and other items to the folks who check in. The network has been conducting the survey for the past several years — including these two volunteers, who helped out in 2015. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune file photo

The York County Military and Community Network will be conducting the Point in Time homeless survey Wednesday in Sanford and Thursday in Biddeford and will be dispensing some food, clothing, blankets and other items to the folks who check in. The network has been conducting the survey for the past several years — including these two volunteers, who helped out in 2015. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune file photo

YORK COUNTY  — The homeless of York County are being asked to stand up and be counted next week.

Folks who are camping in the woods or parks, couch surfing or sleeping in parking lots outside big box stores or shopping centers are invited to fill out a survey about their situation. At the same time, they can get a hot beverage, food, some items to help keep the cold away and if they desire,  information on resources that may be of assistance.

The annual Point in Time survey will be conducted  8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. in Sanford on Wednesday, in the parking lot at Napa, 960 Main St.

The count in Biddeford will be conducted 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Seeds of Hope, 35 South St. on Thursday.

The mobile vet center will be parked at both locations, with tables of food, clothing, blankets, gift cards and vouchers, said Amy Marcotte of the York County Military and Community Network,which is conducting the study.

As well, said Marcotte, there will be mobile patrols overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday  in communities along the I-95 corridor — where  homeless folks tend to spend their nights near shopping center and outlet parking lots. As well, the van will loop into York County’s rural regions.

The Point in Time survey is a program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is administered in Maine by the Maine State Housing Authority. Being counted is important, proponents say, because the counts are used by the federal government when making decisions about funding services for the homeless population.

Linda Waters of  the city of Biddeford said the city also uses the data, in part to help make decisions for Community Development Block Grant funding.

“It certainly it tells us where funds should be targeted and where possibly social service programs should be targeted,” she said.

Waters said as well as those sleeping outside overnight, the city is interested in hearing form those who are “couch-surfing” — folks who stay temporarily with friends or family because they have no other place to go.

“They really are homeless,” Waters pointed out.

Raw data from the 2016 count shows there were 13 people in Biddeford — six men and seven women — who were literally homeless, said Marcotte; one was a veteran. As well, 21 couch surfers were counted in Biddeford that year.

In Sanford, there were six literally homeless folks who participated in  the 2016 count, — four men and two women. Marcotte said multiple couch surfers were among those filling out the survey in Sanford, some of whom were veterans.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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