Number of Homeless People in King County Drops 11% in 2011 One Night Count

Beginning at 2 am Jan. 28, 886 volunteers counted 2,442 people sleeping outdoors in King County. They counted children, adults, and seniors, some huddled in doorways, some sleeping in cars, others camped in green spaces or sheltered in makeshift campsites. Seattle King County Coalition for the Homeless organized more than 137 teams through 10 area headquarters in urban, suburban, and rural King County.

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.

Volunteers counted 317 fewer people living in publicly-accessible parts of King County in 2011 than in those same areas in 2010. This represents an 11% decrease. The numbers of people counted outside are separate from roughly 6,000 people who were in area emergency shelters and transitional housing programs on the same night. Winter shelters in Seattle and Redmond meant that 149 people were inside who would otherwise have had no place to go. SKCCH is tracking how many families were turned away from shelters because they were full during the Count. The complete 2011 One Night Count Report will be released as soon as the other data are compiled.