Snohomish County on Monday released its 2022 Homeless Point-in-Time count, designed to provide a snapshot of households experiencing homelessness on a single night in Snohomish County.
Among the results: The total number of individuals residing in a shelter, transitional housing and living without shelter is the highest it has been since 2012. From its low point in 2015, when 829 people were identified, the count increased 42.8% to 1,184 in 2022, the county said. That represents an increase of 52 individuals from 2020 when the last complete count was conducted. However, within that overall count, the number of people living unsheltered decreased by 13.2% — from 673 in 2020 to 584 in the 2022 count.
The count also revealed an increase in shelter capacity, with the sheltered count (600) reflecting system capacity and is the highest it has been since 2013. This increase of 30.7% over the number in 2020 (459) is due to an increase in shelter capacity, including cold weather shelters that were open on Feb. 22, 2022 — the night of the count.
The count is required by state and federal funders and is used in program planning. It includes people residing in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and living without shelter. According to a county press release announcing the results, the 2022 survey was supported by the efforts of 204 volunteers and county personnel along with staff from other agencies, including law enforcement embedded social workers, first responders, tribal service providers, and social services and human services employees.
While these counts traditionally occur in January, this year’s Feb. 22 count was the result of a COVID-19 related extension granted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The count was not conducted in 2021 due to the pandemic.
“There are far too many members of our community who have no home and are traumatized daily by their lack of shelter,” said Director of Snohomish County Human Services Mary Jane Brell Vujovic. “This count allows us to quantify this community challenge and give us a better perspective on what is taking place across the county. We are committed to doing all we can to relieve suffering and help our neighbors transition to a more stable and sustainable life.”
Because the unsheltered count relies on volunteer survey takers who visit encampments, food banks, community resource locations and known areas where people who are unsheltered congregate, the previous methodology was prone to undercounting families experiencing homelessness, the county announcement said. To increase the usability and accuracy of the count data, the county changed its methodology for locating homeless households in 2019 and included a new strategy to locate households experiencing homelessness.
The count varied in important ways from previous years, the county said. The number of households with children experiencing homelessness (92) did not change from the last full count in 2020, but the number of households experiencing sheltered homelessness increased 52.4% (168 to 256) while unsheltered households with children decreased 73.3% (116 to 31). There was also a decrease in the number of households with children experiencing chronic homelessness from 2020 (37) to 2022 (29). Households with only children also decreased by 50% (30 to 15). The total number of households without children experiencing unsheltered homelessness changed very little from 2020 to 2022, but there was an increase in households without children experiencing chronic homelessness (448 to 499). This means that more than 50% of all households without children experiencing homelessness in Snohomish County are chronically homeless, the county said.
The count also showed a decrease in the number of people whose race is Black, African American, or African — from 11.2% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2022. In contrast, the number of people who are Hispanic/Latino showed a slight increased — from 10.6% to 11.23%. The number of households with a veteran increased from 41 to 46. The percentage of people having a gender of female or male remained relatively unchanged, but there was a slight increase in the number of people who are transgender, questioning or who have a gender that is not singularly female or male (e.g., non-binary, genderfluid, agender, culturally specific gender) from .97% to 1.44%.
The Snohomish County Partnership to End Homelessness uses the analysis and overall trend data from the point-in-time count as one of many tools to track progress toward goals to prevent, reduce and end homelessness, the county said. Additional historical Snohomish County point-in-time count information can be viewed at snohomishcountywa.gov/2857/Point-In-Time.