City & Government, Creswell

Creswell counts its unsheltered

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On Jan. 31, Creswell’s Patti Scott, Randy Mogstad and Katelyn Marks took to the city’s underbelly to help quantify the homeless and their needs as part of a Lane County unsheltered count.
In a short burst of three hours, the Creswell Point-in-Time (PIT) count occurred between 8:30 a.m. and noon, and identified about 20 homeless individuals in the city – each with a different story to tell.
Tina was both living and working at Super 8 Motel in Creswell when the owners allegedly lit the motel on fire in November 2018, rendering her both unemployed and unsheltered in an evening. Unable to get an apartment without a job, and a job without a home address, the catch-22 left Tina to sleep in her van at Garden Lake Park as she works toward better days.
”Von” is a disabled older man who lives in his van with his little dog. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and has been on the streets since, but said he’s been sober for two years.
”Jesse” has been sleeping behind Farmers’ Insurance. He writes violin and piano music, and gave some to Scott to listen to, which she plans to take to her church to hear performed.
”Cade” moved to Creswell to take care of his sick father until his passing. He’s been a student at Lane Community College for three years, studying automotive. He has also been homeless for those three years.
Mogstad, 33, of Creswell joined in on the unsheltered count for a few reasons. The homeless folks trust him and feel comfortable with him, Mogstad said. He will sometimes let them to sleep in his cars and will invite them to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, saying ”everyone needs a friend.”
He said many of our homeless population are life-long Creswellians. He knows their parents and grandparents, so he also offers help out of respect to their relatives.
Marks, 29, is a counseling intern at Creslane Elementary School. She said one of the reasons she got involved with the count this year was because she was shocked by the number of needy and homeless children she encounters at the elementary school.
A Homeless Student Data state study from 2017-18 stated that there are 70 homeless students enrolled in the Creswell School District. The Chronicle will be focusing a report specifically on Creswell’s homeless children in the upcoming weeks.
Scott is especially well-known for her big heart in town. Her days are often spent helping the less fortunate. She brings the homeless hot meals and coffee on the weekends. The back of Scott’s car is filled with sleeping bags, hand warmers, socks and food, which she drives around to hand out often.
Scott simply asks each and every one, ”What do you need?” Sometimes, she’ll go back to pray with them.
For the count, Marks was in charge of asking questions to the homeless, ranging from name to social security digits, to military experience, to vices and disabilities. New questions were also posed this year, relating to domestic violence experience, sexual orientation, presence of pets or companion animals and pregnancy.
The questions are intended to help meet the expressed needs of homeless service providers and advocates, and to help understand the population of individuals experiencing homelessness in Lane County.
PIT Count data is reported directly to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Congress, the State of Oregon and local jurisdictions. The data helps demonstrate the need for services and funding in Lane County, according to the project’s website.
The hope is that, after about three months after the data is plugged in, the county could get some housing grants and funding to assist these folks, Marks said.



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