Annual Homeless Point-in-Time count highest in over 10 years
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash., May 4, 2023—The Annual Homeless Point-in-Time (PIT) count, designed to provide a snapshot of households experiencing homelessness on a single night, was conducted on January 24, 2023. This survey was supported by the efforts of 247 volunteers, County personnel, and partnering agency staff. The 2023 count identified 1,285 people in 1,028 households residing in shelter, transitional housing, or living without shelter in Snohomish County the night of January 23, 2023. In 2023, the total PIT count was up 8.5 percent from 2022, which represents an increase of 101 people. The total Point-in-Time count is again the highest it has been since 2012.
“Without a home, a person in recovery will struggle to stay clean, children cannot learn and reach their full potential, a single parent cannot pursue education and career pathways that will improve their family’s outlook, and veterans who have faithfully served our country will continue to suffer and die on our streets,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “Our residents experiencing homelessness need stable housing and supportive services, which is why we are taking a holistic approach to increase affordable housing, shelter, and behavioral health services across Snohomish County.”
In 2023, the sheltered count decreased by one percent, totaling 594, and the unsheltered count increased by 18.3 percent to 691 people. The County’s cold weather shelters were not open on the night of the 2023 count which likely impacted sheltered and unsheltered counts.
Households with at least one adult and one child saw the greatest percent increase from 2022 to 2023, from 92 to 105, or a 14.1 percent increase. People experiencing chronic homelessness represented 48.9 percent of the count while currently fleeing survivors of domestic violence represented 11.9 percent of those 18 and older.
The percentage of people who identify as Black, African American, or African increased from 6.4 percent to 8.7 percent, and the percentage of people who identify as Hispanic/Latin(a)(o)(x) increased from 11.2 percent to 13.9 percent. The percentage of veteran households increased slightly from 4.5 percent to five percent. Within veteran households, 72.5 percent are experiencing unsheltered homelessness. The gender breakdown between female and male remained relatively unchanged at 40.9 percent female and 58.0 percent male. Finally, there was not a significant change in the number of people who identify as transgender, questioning, or who have a gender that is not singularly female or male (e.g., non-binary, genderfluid, agender, culturally specific gender) from 1.44 percent to 1.1 percent.
In 2022, Snohomish County significantly increased investments to address the region’s homelessness crisis. Efforts include:
- Using federal funds to purchase two motels to convert into approximately 129 new units of emergency housing;
- Using federal funds to partner with nine cities on 11 projects to expand access to shelter, social services, and behavioral health services across the county;
- Using federal funds to increase behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment capacity across the county; and
- Authorizing new resources to increase affordable housing and behavioral health facilities.
Many of these resources are already available, and additional units and facilities will open in the coming months. Anyone interested can stay updated on new initiatives here.
The PIT count, required by both state and federal agencies, is used in program planning across shelter, housing, and behavioral health services. Snohomish County’s commitment to increasing the usability and accuracy of the PIT count led to a change in methodology for locating homeless households, which started in 2019 and included a new strategy to locate households experiencing homelessness. The County uses extensive data available through the Coordinated Entry system to reach households that may otherwise be undercounted.
The PIT count includes people residing in emergency shelter or transitional housing, as well as people living without shelter. In addition to volunteers and staff, the count utilized partnerships in the community with law enforcement embedded social workers, first responders, social services agencies, and Human Services Department employees. The County uses available data to de-duplicate the count to increase reporting accuracy.
While an imperfect measure, the PIT count is required by the state and federal governments and is one of the tools used to inform priorities for federal, state, and local funding. It also helps identify trends and craft solutions for the needs of vulnerable individuals and families. The analysis and overall trend data are utilized by the Snohomish County Partnership to End Homelessness as one of many tools to track progress toward goals to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness. A detailed infographic on this year’s count and additional historical Snohomish County PIT information can be explored at https://snohomishcountywa.gov/2857/Point-In-Time.
SOURCE: Snohomish County Government
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