'One Night Count' finds 4,500 homeless men, women & children in King County -- up 19% from last year

SEATTLE -- The annual One Night Count survey found more than 4,500 people without shelter in King County as of Friday, Jan. 29.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and more than 1,000 volunteers canvassed the streets of the city and county overnight to tally the number of homeless people living in our area.

The survey found 2, 942 men, women and children sleeping outside in Seattle, an 5 percent increase over January 2015.

Across King County, volunteers counted a total of 4,505 unsheltered people, up 19 percent from last year.

“Last night’s count reflects what we all see on the streets of our city – that we have a growing crisis of homelessness in our community,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “While large cities are often the focus of this debate, homelessness is growing in suburban communities and smaller towns across our state. We must pursue a coordinated approach – in Puget Sound, in Washington state and across the country – as we respond to this national crisis.”

The count comes just three days after five people were shot at a homeless encampment in Sodo. The medical examiner's office said 45-year-old Jeannine L. Brooks and 33-year-old James Q. Tran both died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Last November, Murray declared a state of emergency calling homelessness a "crisis" in Seattle. The city council then approved an additional $7 million in emergency funding for mroe space in shelters, safe areas for RVs and cars, and additional outreach services.

“As homelessness in the Seattle/King County continues to grow, the City’s work to address the immediate need to get people off the street and into stable housing and the longer-term effort to more strategically invest the City’s nearly $50 million in homelessness programs and services is more important than ever,” said Catherine Lester, Seattle Human Services Department Director. “The City is committed to continuing to coordinate with regional government partners, service providers and the faith community to build a strategy that is focused on an integrated system of early interventions and access to housing which are critical to end homelessness.”