This week, Aaron Reardon turned his attention from light rail and buses to the people back home. Or more specifically, Snohomish County residents without a home.
On Wednesday Reardon put out a call for help for the county's annual census of the homeless. Over the course of 12 hours next week, the county will be sending volunteers to shelters, bridges and parks to find people without a place to lay their head.
"Ending homelessness is an issue that should be foremost on all of our minds," Reardon said in making his request.
Last year's count found more than 2,300 people with no place to call home, 849 of them kids. Nate Marti, who coordinates the project, says four staging areas will be set up around the county. People living on the street can come in and fill out a survey and pick up a bite to eat along with a jacket or bus tickets.
The Snohomish County project parallels another here. The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness does an annual one-night count of people staying in shelters and on the street. Last year 2,827 people were found throughout the county.
"The annual count gives us excellent data that can be used to help understand how widespread homelessness in Snohomish County is and who is most affected," Reardon said.
As anyone who has heard Reardon speak can tell you, he has a voice to which you can't say "no". It's a rich baritone, and quite full, but in a way that's comforting, not frightening. Though I suspect that if he needed to be commanding in a crisis, he could. It's a voice that inspires you to action, and in this case, the cause is noble.
If you haven't had the chance to hear him speak yet, here is his MLK Day address from last year, just days before another talented orator was inaugurated President of the United States.