HSD’s expanded investments in effective homeless services and programs like enhanced shelter, prevention, rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing have helped more than 4,000 households to move off the streets and into housing or to remain housed.
Jason Johnson, acting director of Seattle’s Human Services Department, said the progress is mirrored in what the city has been hearing from its contractors. “We’re serving more people than we ever have before,” Johnson said. “We’re also exiting more people through programs and into permanent housing.”
“We are grateful for our homeless services provider partners who are working hard to ensure that they are serving people more effectively. With their help we increased the number of households served by 7% over last year to more than 25,000 households in 2018. We wouldn’t be making progress without them.”
We are also looking more at the effectiveness of tiny house village programs and how to work more closely with the communities around them. Click to read more about this on our Homelessness Response blog.
With the latest data released by All Home today, we are also cautiously optimistic. Count Us In, the annual Point in Time count for Seattle and King County, found a total of 11,199 people experiencing homelessness countywide, including 5,971 people (53%) sheltered and 5,228 people (47%) unsheltered. While we continue our work to serve more people, more effectively, these numbers represent the first reduction in homelessness since 2012 for Seattle/King County – an overall decrease of eight percent compared to 2018, and a decrease of seventeen percent among the unsheltered population. The full Count Us In report, estimated to be complete by the end of May, will include more detailed information on the results, including a sub-regional breakdown and a deeper analysis of the Count Us In survey responses.
“We’re serving more people than we ever have before,” Johnson said. “We’re also exiting more people through programs and into permanent housing.”
“Still it is not enough,” said Mayor Durkan. “This is a regional crisis that demands a regional response – none of us can do it alone to help the thousands in need of housing and services. Government, philanthropy, businesses, and human services providers must continue our work together to expand affordable housing, treatment services and effective programs like enhanced shelters.”
Work is on-going to establish a Regional Authority to manage homelessness response, expand access to diversion services which help people quickly find housing at the beginning of their experience with homelessness, and continued investments in enhanced shelters and safe spaces with enhanced services. We have covered some of those steps here in recent newsletters, and we will continue to do so. We’re making progress, together… and there is much more work to be done.