Contact: Jess Jorstad Lead Data & Program Analyst Jess.Jorstad@snoco.org 425-388-3270
EVERETT, Wash., August 14, 2018 – Today, Snohomish County announced the release of the 2018 Point-in-Time Count Report regarding homeless persons.
The annual PIT count conducted by over 250 volunteers and Snohomish County staff on January 23, 2018, surveyed 378 persons in 331 households who were unsheltered at the time of the count. This represented a 27% decrease over the number of unsheltered individuals in the 2017 count. While the PIT count fluctuates from year to year, the overall trend since 2013 is upward with an increase of 9.9%.
“As we develop ways to reduce the impacts of homelessness on our community, we must focus on data-driven solutions and partnerships that lift up our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive. “The solutions are as complex as the problems, especially at a time when affordable housing is becoming scarcer. I’m encouraged that we are able to transition more people into housing, even if the numbers of those experiencing homelessness continue to rise.”
“Too many members of our community continue to suffer without adequate housing,” said Stephanie Wright, Chair of the Snohomish County Council. “This yearly effort helps us better understand where we are and how we should focus our time and resources. Snohomish County will continue to do everything possible to move people from the streets and camps to healthier housing situations”
This year’s count of unsheltered persons showed a decrease in chronically homeless individuals from 313 in the 2017 count to 270 in 2018. Chronically homeless individuals make up a substantial percentage of those unsheltered, representing 71.4% of the unsheltered homeless count. Chronically homeless individuals are individuals with a disability who have been homeless continuously for at least 12 months or who on at least 4 separate occasions had a combined length of time in homelessness of at least 12 months over the last 3 years. It also showed a high number of individuals who had two or three disabling conditions, including mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders, and/or chronic medical conditions, pointing to the need of more intensive and individualized evidence-based services.
The annual count is a key measure used to inform priorities for federal, state, and local funding and helps gauge progress toward ending homelessness for vulnerable individuals and families. The analysis and overall trends are utilized by the Snohomish County Partnership to End Homelessness to address needs and track progress toward goals to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness.
Outreach workers and navigators were able to assist a number of people during the count to begin accessing needed services, shelter or housing. County staff wish to thank all the volunteers and agency staff who made the count possible.
The Snohomish County Human Services Department helps all persons meet their basic needs and develop their potential by providing timely, effective human services and building community. The Housing & Community Services Division administers a wide range of programs that provide affordable housing, community development, and related services to low-income and homeless persons.