News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood

 

Homeless number drops in One Night Count

January 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Last night, between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m., volunteers fanned out across King County for the 31st annual “One Night Count” of unsheltered homeless people, including those in Wallingford and neighboring areas.

One Night Count organizers released information this morning about last night’s count:

Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless (SKCCH) Director Alison Eisinger announced early this morning that the number of people counted outside in King County is down 11% compared to last year’s count. Volunteer teams working through the night counted 2,442 people living on the streets of King County. The people were of every age, race and gender. Some were huddled in doorways, some sleeping in cars, camped in parking lots, or sheltered in makeshift campsites.

The One Night Count of People who are Homeless is conducted each January to produce a snapshot of the total number of unsheltered individuals on the streets of King County.

Beginning at 2:00 am Friday morning, 886 volunteers in 137 teams counted the people sleeping outdoors in King County. The volunteers were organized through ten area headquarters. Counters returned to historical and new count areas in Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Shoreline, Kenmore Bothell, Seattle, White Center, Federal Way, Kent, Renton and Auburn. The 2011 One Night Count also collected information from select hospitals about emergency room usage, and from Metro night owl buses operating throughout the county. The numbers released today are understood to represent the minimum number of unsheltered people on this single night.

Capitol Hill Housing’s Joshua Okrent said earlier this week that areas in Wallingford and across North Seattle were included in the count. We know that many of the homeless in this area live in vehicles and asked Okrent about how they’re counted. He said, “We make an effort to count people living in their cars, and we certainly consider them homeless. When we see a car being used as a shelter we estimate 2 per vehicle unless it is clear that a different number of people are living there.”

Okrent couldn’t mention specific count areas where volunteers count, he said, because they want to keep the numbers as accurate as possible. “Letting people know the count sites ahead of time can alter the numbers by both encouraging people to stay out on a night that they would otherwise have found shelter, OR causing them to leave an area entirely as they are afraid of being seen and counted,” Okrent said.

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