Nearly 1,000 volunteers spanned across King County between 2 and 6 a.m. Friday for Count Us In 2018, the annual Point in Time Count of individuals experiencing homelessness, coordinated annually by All Home.
The unsheltered street count was conducted as a full canvass of all 398 census tracts in the county. Count teams included guides with current or prior experience of homelessness, who were compensated for their time and expertise with their assigned count area.
“Homelessness is a local and national emergency,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, in a news release from All Home. “Walking block by block through streets booming with construction but then under the freeway in areas peppered with tents was a stark reminder of the deep inequities of wealth and income in our city. We can and must do better.
“The fact that we see thousands of people living unsheltered, in the streets and in cars, is a moral and institutional failure. I will do everything I can at the federal level to build the affordable housing we need, provide the support systems necessary for people to live and fix a broken tax system that benefits only the few. Solving this crisis will require all of us —government, business, nonprofits and communities — to share responsibility for real solutions. Count Us In is a crucial part of those efforts – I want to thank the dedicated volunteers who canvassed every part of King County and I am grateful to be a part of and to represent a community that cares so deeply about the vulnerable.”
In 2017, Count Us In counted 11,643 people experiencing homelessness countywide. The total included 6,158 people sheltered in transitional housing or emergency shelters and 5,485 people on the streets, sleeping in vehicles, tents or encampments (both sanctioned and unsanctioned).
Continuing with the nationally recognized methodology introduced at last year’s count, the full range of count activities includes a street count of people living unsheltered, a count of people living in shelter or transitional housing, a qualitative survey of people experiencing homelessness and specialized approaches to counting sub-populations, including youth/young adults, families and those living in vehicles, according to the news release.
“The fact that nearly one thousand volunteers joined us for tonight’s count demonstrates that our community is coming together to confront the homelessness crisis,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “It is that shared purpose and commitment that inspires the work we are doing with partners to ensure that everyone in King County has a safe, warm place to sleep at night.”
A comprehensive report of Count Us In findings, including data on youth, vehicle residents, chronic homelessness and other specialized populations will be available in May. Point In Time counts are a requirement for communities that receive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Data collected from Point In Time counts across the nation are published on the HUD Exchange website and provided annually to Congress as part of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report.
All Home is the lead agency for the Seattle/King County Continuum of Care, which annually applies for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds and reports required data to the federal government on behalf of the continuum. All Home partners include King County, the city of Seattle, United Way of King County, other cities within King County, philanthropic funders such as the Bill & Melinda Gates and Raikes foundations, housing and homeless service providers, faith communities, advocates and persons who have experienced homelessness.