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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Annual point-in-time count of homeless set for Columbus, Franklin County

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Monday, January 22, 2024   

More than 150 volunteers will fan out across Columbus and Franklin County this week for the annual point-in-time count of the homeless.

Last year's count revealed more than 2,300 people experiencing homelessness, a 20% increase from the year prior and a record high.

Sara Loken, chief communication and brand officer for the Community Shelter Board, said no one should rest easy until everyone has a place to call home.

"This count is an opportunity to focus on people who lack the most basic of all human needs: a safe place to live and thrive," Loken explained.

Loken pointed out volunteers will offer shelter to anyone they encounter along with warm clothing, bus passes and hygiene products. The counts are submitted to government agencies to determine funding and strategies to reduce homelessness.

Local advocates said the population in Columbus is expanding but the number of affordable rental housing units has not kept pace. The Community Shelter Board reported just thirty available and affordable homes for every 100 residents seeking them.

Loken noted while there has been "movement" on affordable housing, there is not nearly enough for the area's lowest-income earners.

"We really need innovative solutions in housing for multiple sectors," Loken urged. "To make sure that we are creating diverse options in housing that are for all levels of income earners."

Loken emphasized an alarming 381% increase in homeless elderly adults in Columbus over the past decade and a more than 40% increase in unhoused families over the past two years. She added the numbers paint a dire picture of what this year's point-in-time count might show and affirms what advocates have experienced in trying to rehouse those who need help.

Disclosure: The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Health Issues, and Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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