It wasn’t the turnout that Jami Crowder, CHOICES homeless shelter manager, had been hoping for at the Point in Time Count on Thursday. In fact, there wasn’t much turnout to speak of at all. However, that’s not to say the homelessness issue is not real in Crawford County. “From what we see, and the number of calls we get from those not qualified for our service, and the people that do come to the shelter to work through the programs, we have a significant problem,” Crowder said. Thursday, the First Church of the Nazarene played host to the Point in Time Count, which is an attempt to measure the amount of homelessness in the area. Last year, officials went out into the county to try to find homeless camps and communities, but had little luck. This year, there was a shift in the goal and tone of the count. “[Housing and Urban Development’s] definition of homeless changed. Now, we’re allowed to count the precariously housed. That’s where you have more than one family in a household,” Crowder said. “This is to try to get the precariously housed. It’s a very difficult population to locate.” That’s why the event may have had trouble drawing many homeless individuals from the community. There was plenty to entice individuals to come to the event, with food, snacks, health items and more as just the giveaways. There were also a number of service providers on hand to offer the tools at their disposal. The Crawford County Health Department was there to tell about their services, including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, immunization clinic, Healthy Start program and more. School districts, such as USD 499 Galena, also sent representatives. Although technically there is only one family in their school district classified as homeless, there are many others who fall somewhere in the spectrum of poverty that could use services like the weekend food program, free dental cleanings, mental health referrals and the after-school program. “I think we’re just getting the word out about the resources that want to help families that fall into poverty and homelessness,” said Teressa Berry, USD 499 student service coordinator. “There are assets out there for helping your fellow man. It’s helping the greater good to help the homeless be successful.” Marie Youvan, dental hygienist at Community Health Center-Southeast Kansas offered toothpaste and toothbrushes, as well as information on dental health at CHC-SEK. “In general, dental health is poor for the homeless and impoverished. That’s because they have other needs that need to be met. Dental is usually one of the last things,” Youvan said. “Many times, by the time they get to us, they have severe dental needs. Sometimes, the only way they come to us is because of pain.” Other organizations, like CLASS Ltd., the Salvation Army and area churches were also at the event, which comes at an important time, particularly as the CHOICES homeless shelter is facing potential closure unless drastic changes are made by April 1. Several of those who are at the shelter now came to the event not just to be counted, but also to help volunteer. “Sometimes, it’s important for people going through this to give back. They may not have financial resources, but it makes them feel like they’re a part of the solution,” Crowder said. “It’s important for us at the shelter to make them feel vital and important members of the community.” Among those who helped out was Catroina Creacey, who has been at the shelter for three weeks. “I figured [the shelter] helped me, it might help them, too. It’s given me a place to sleep for my children. I’ve met new people. They’re very nice,” Creacey said. “You should always give back. I would be on the streets if it weren’t for people helping me out.”