For second year in row, King County won’t attempt to count homeless population

(Image: City of Seattle)

King County is again putting of its annual attempt to count the number of people living outside, in vehicles, or under-sheltered here.

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority says it plans, instead, to “conduct qualitative engagement with people living unsheltered to learn more about their experiences and how we can better meet their needs.” CHS reported here in 2019 on the formation of the new authority with hopes for more regional approaches to addressing the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Following 2021’s waiver allowing it to skip the count due to the COVID-19 crisis, the county authority announced it will not conduct the survey again in 2022 because federal requirements call only for counts in odd year.

But Publicola reports that the authority could end up missing out on much needed federal funding by skipping the count effort as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development is mandating agencies that skipped 2021 to catch back up in 2022.

The last count performed in King County took place in January 2020 and identified nearly 12,000 people experiencing homelessness where with an increase in the number of people living in cars and RVs.

The county’s “point in time” counting effort was overhauled in 2017 with a new approach officials said would provide a more complete look by dispatching teams of three to four volunteers led by the paid guides across census tracts throughout King County.


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For second year in row, King County won’t attempt to count homeless population