Homeless counts will take place in every county across the country beginning later this month. In this series, “Everyone Counts,” we’ll explore the importance of these counts, how to get involved in various WA locations, and hear from volunteers about their experience. 


Written by Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Manager, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness and Erin Murphy, Director of Community Engagement,YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish

Counting the number of people who are experiencing homeless in our country is a massive task. One of the most important means of getting true numbers is the Point in Time counts every January.

This year, during the last 10 days in January, volunteers across the nation will collect data in more than 3,000 cities and counties in a Point in Time count of both sheltered and unsheltered people who are homeless.

In Western Washington, the counts this year (2013) are Thursday, Jan. 24 and Friday, Jan. 25.

The data are reported to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for use in planning and funding.  According to HUD’s One CPD, these counts are important because they tell us not only how many people are homeless, but who is homeless, and why – critical information if we are ever to end homelessness.

Five Things You May Not Know about the Point in Time Counts

  1. Volunteers Crucial: The counts depend on volunteers like you. To find out how to participate, find a Western Washington location below.
  2. Country’s Largest: The One Night Count in King County, organized bySeattle/King Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) and Operation Nightwatch, is the largest community-organized count in the country, with more than 900 volunteers on 125 teams.
  3. Daytime Counts: Outside King County’s One Night Count, the Point in Time counts are conducted in the daytime, and include interviews with the people who are being counted.
  4. Youth & Young Adults Alignment: For the first time, in King County the Point in Time Counts are being aligned with the “Count Us In” counts of youth and young adult homelessness.  In 2011, during the One Night Count, only 34 youth and young adults were identified (the people counted are often asleep and not asked about their age).  Later that year, Teen Feed worked with other organizations to create a new, youth-focused count. In 2012, the new “Count Us In,” conducted in daytime hours by multiple service agencies and coordinated by United Way of King County, identified 685 youth and young adults who were homeless– which may still be an underrepresentation.
  5. Cyndi’s PSA: Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, in collaboration with HUD’s “Make Everyone Count,” has recorded a PSA urging Americans to get involved in the Point in Time Counts.

Read the rest of the post here and learn how you can get involved in a local count: Firesteel / Blog / Everyone Counts: Join A Point in Time Count & Provide Important Community Data.

One comment

  1. I hope this count rattles the politicians in DC. The money we send to nations abroad is wasted. When will we have a parochial view of taking care of our own? We need help in this country first and foremost! There are children out there who have no hope for a future.I have more faith in a snakeoil salesman than the politicians in DC. Larry D.

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