Last night roughly 800 volunteers across King County conducted the annual One Night County of people living without shelter. And with Mayor Ed Murray recently referring to homelessness in Seattle as a “full-blown crisis,” sadly it comes as no surprise to see that the initial results of the count backed this assertion up.
Overall, at least 3,772 men, women, and children were found surviving without shelter during the three-hour effort, representing a 21-percent increase over last year. In Seattle alone, 2813 people were found without shelter. It’s also important to note that One Night Count results are always considered to be a lowball estimate, because there’s no way volunteers can identify every person in King County living without shelter, and many homeless people “take great care not to be visible,” as the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness puts it.
Here’s the full breakdown of where people were found:
Some particularly glaring aspects of these findings …
The number of people found living in “bushes/undergrowth” in Kent: Last year’s count identified three people surviving in this condition; this year’s effort found 28. In September I wrote a cover story about suburban and rural homelessness in King County.
Auto homelessness: In Seattle, 776 people were found living in cars or trucks this year; last year that number was 631. In Kent, the number went from eight last year to 44 this year. In Federal Way, it doubled, going from 27 last year to 54 this year.
Underage count: The number of identified minors living without shelter throughout King County went from 19 last year to 31 this year.