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Because of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, many people are facing homelesssness for the first time. And Whidbey Island is not immune to this. Whidbey Homeless Coalition Executive Director Jonathan Kline said that, throughout this year, the organization has helped a number of newly homeless people, including families. “What we have noticed is a lot of people coming through our shelters and contacting us for assistance that we have never had any contact with before,” Kline said. The Point in Time Count for 2020, done earlier this year, recorded that 143 homeless people were counted in Island County, although Kline said this number is usually an underestimate. Of the 143 counted, 78 were completely unsheltered, and 65 were sheltered, meaning they were enrolled in a shelter program but not in a home of their own. Kline said there have been more people than years past staying at the Haven, the night-to-night emergency shelter in Oak Harbor. To date, no one staying at the Haven and Langley’s House of Hope has contracted the virus. “We haven’t had a single one of our guests test positive for COVID,” Kline said, crediting the new safety protocols of the two shelters in helping to keep away the virus. The coalition also began a new outreach program this year, with initial seed funding from the Whidbey Community Foundation, to help people at risk of becoming homeless. This can be as simple as providing support systems or talking with people to personally troubleshoot their situation so […]