Homeless deaths hit record high in King County

Preliminary reports from King County show a 13% increase in the number of deaths of homeless people between 2018 and 2017.

Wednesday, King County officials released preliminary reports on the number of homeless people who died in 2018. This past year they reporter 191 confirmed deaths. Manner of death including: accident, homicide, natural, and suicide. The ages of the people that died range from an infant to people in their 80s.

These are the highest homeless death numbers in King County ever. This year’s numbers more than double the number of deaths in 2012 (78), and 2014 (87), documents show.

“It scares me I wonder if that could be me,” said Paul Crandall.

Crandall is homeless in Seattle. He says he knows all too well what it’s like to go to sleep at night and wonder if you’ll wake up in the morning.

“Out here on the streets you see extremes,” he said.

The number of homeless deaths over the past five years, has continually increased, King County documents show. That is reason enough for people like Alison Eisinger to want to fight even harder.

“That should not be the way that anybody in this rich country comes to the end of his or her life,” she said.

Eisinger is the Executive Director of the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness. She has made fighting homelessness her life’s work for the last 12 years.

She says there is a relatively simply fix to this county-wide crisis.

“We need to provide homes, safe homes for people that don’t have them,” she added.

King County documents show the highest number of deaths of homeless people in 2018 are listed as “Accident”.