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North Bend publishes homeless problem survey | Info meeting planned
In trying to address the issues surrounding its homeless/transient population, North Bend is turning to its citizens. The city has created an 18-question survey on community concerns and priorities, and encourages residents to complete the survey, either online, or on a paper copy, available at City Hall.
The North Bend Council’s Public Safety Committee requested the survey, City Administrator Londi Lindell said, in response to citizens’ concerns about a seemingly growing number of homeless people and problems.
“There’s been a pretty big uptick in our calls for service and a lot of them have had to do with the perceived transient population,” Lindell said.
People are offering largely anecdotal evidence of what they see as a growing problem, she said, including not feeling safe going out at night, finding drug paraphernalia in their yards and in parks, and concerns for the safety of their children. “These are the complaints I’ve been getting and the council’s been getting,” she said, adding that residents were quite vocal about their concerns at a recent public information meeting on the emergency winter homeless shelter, scheduled to open at North Bend Community Church on Nov. 15.
Although the survey is informal, she felt the data could help the council to grasp the problem, and maybe determine if there is an actual increase, or just a perceived one in the homeless population and its problems.
“It’s not a statistically accurate survey…. but I think it’s just helpful, information gathering,” Lindell said.
The survey asks citizens to prioritize the city’s responsibilities and share general safety concerns. It also specifically asks respondents about exposure to and concerns about such issues as homeless camps, the winter shelter, illegal drug use, and panhandling. It is available online (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NB-HOMELESS, or from the city’s website) through Nov. 15.
North Bend has been working on homeless issues for many months, and passed a no-camping ordinance in January to ban people from sleeping on public property. Police Chief Mark Toner will host the monthly public safety meeting on the issues of homelessness, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Mount Si Senior Center.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, organizers of the Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter host a public information meeting on the shelter plans for the coming season. The meeting is 11 a.m. at the North Bend Community Church, 146 E. Third St., North Bend.