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Survey reveals increasing homeless numbers

Volunteers sort through clothes and goods for the homeless at LifeStyles of Maryland in La Plata prior to the Point in Time Homeless Survey.

La Plata, MD - While continuing their search for Charles County’s homeless during LifeStyles of Maryland’s Point in Time survey, Jan. 27, Executive Director Sandy Washington admitted the numbers have increased slightly this winter.

“Through our survey we identified 266 people,” Washington said Thursday, Jan. 28. “That’s probably a little up.”

She said the total did not include the approximately 37 people who were given shelter through the Safe Nights program.

“People were very easy to find,” Washington explained. “Some people we were able to get to places.”

The Point in Time survey, held annually by the agency, broke the county up into seven sectors. Groups of 40 volunteers—as many as 160 in total—began around noon Jan. 27 and took the county section by section. 

They worked until slightly before midnight.

After the drama of the survey’s first sector, when a man known to LifeSyles was found deceased at a camp in the woods in the 2900 block of Marshall Hall Road near a Bryans Road shopping center, the remainder of the countywide survey was more subtle.

The very first team to venture out found the deceased man at his camp.

Charles County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated and found no obvious signs of injury.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore will perform an autopsy. Det. B. Buchanan is investigating.

No more bodies were found from the remainder of the survey.

Washington was distressed by the discovery.

“One is one too many,” she said.

Despite their longest day, she added their work was far from over.

“We’re a little tired,” Washington stated, “but that doesn’t mean we can stop. We have people in our lobby right now that need help.”

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com

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