Next week, an effort to accurately tally the number of people dealing with homelessness in Calhoun County will be taking place.

Every January, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development mandates the Point-In-Time Count to determine how many people are in shelters, and how many are out on the streets or in abandoned buildings. In Calhoun County, the count will take place from sunset January 30 to sunrise January 31; the service count will involve meals at the SHARE Center, the Emmett Street Missionary Church, and the Salvation Army in Battle Creek, and the street count will be carried out by teams of volunteers.

There will also be homeless volunteers helping teams finding camps within the community.

Nicold DuPont, who is Operations Lead with The Coordinating Council, says...

Homelessness is a local as well as national crisis. We have a serious affordable housing problem and with 47.6% of our population paying more than 30% of their income on rent, we have a large portion of our population that are financially vulnerable. The high cost of rent does not leave enough money for other expenses like food, transportation, or health concerns. It also leaves this population with little to no savings and a single crisis away from possible homelessness.

The Coordinating Council, who’s organizing the count, says that previous counts indicate Calhoun County has 1,199 people dealing with homelessness, with an increase of 7 percent from 2015 to 2017. That increase comes mostly in families with children, and veterans.