first_imgBefore sunrise on Thursday, Jamie Spinelli and Thomas Eaton headed into the woods in search of the homeless. The caseworkers from Community Services Northwest ventured down muddy trails along Burnt Bridge Creek, through blackberry brambles and under freeway overpasses in an effort to find and count people staying outside.“Don’t worry. We’re not the cops,” Eaton said as he approached the first person they found, a 54-year-old woman.She was bundled in a sleeping bag under a bridge, sitting next to a few belongings. She said she was homeless because her Social Security income wasn’t enough to afford rent. Yes, she said, she had been homeless before. Yes, she was alone.Spinelli inquired about her education level, veteran and disability status, and added the information on intake forms. Thursday was the annual Point-in-Time count, a single-day census of homeless people and a requirement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’ll take months for the numbers to be finalized.At last year’s count, there were 692 homeless people, including 228 unsheltered people in Clark County. People in shelters are counted, too.Spinelli and Eaton handed the homeless woman a plastic bag of hygiene products and supplies, as well as a bus pass and a flier about Project Homeless Connect. The resource fair for the homeless was at St. Joseph Catholic Church, and a shuttle from the men’s homeless shelter could take her there.The fair was another opportunity to get a more accurate count of homeless people.The fact that the woman has income but is homeless is a commentary on local rents, Spinelli said. She told Spinelli that she used to live at Courtyard Village, where dozens of low-income tenants were given 20-day notices to vacate. The complex has since been renovated, renamed Parc Central, and rents were increased.last_img