OLYMPIA — Homelessness has decreased throughout the state, according to new numbers released today by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The numbers are from the statewide annual “Point in Time Count” that took place January 24th, 2013.
Local homeless service providers and volunteers across the state counted 17,775 people living outside or in emergency shelters or transitional housing. Of those, 5,043 were outside – an 8% decrease in the rate of homelessness from 2012 and a 15% decrease from 2006. There were 133 families with children living outside – a 28% decrease in the rate of homelessness from 2012 and a 73% decrease from 2006.
“We are moving in the right direction to reduce homelessness across the state,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “These numbers illustrate the effectiveness of programs like Housing and Essential Needs, the Consolidated Homeless Grant, and other local and federal programs. However, there is still work to be done to help people living on the streets, in the woods, in cars, and in shelters.”
State officials say the reduction in homelessness can be attributed to an increase in homelessness programs.
“This data helps confirm that homelessness is declining across the state,” said Commerce Deputy Director Dan McConnon. “Without programs to help people overcome homelessness, the numbers would be much higher. Data collected through other programs shows that, throughout Washington, data-driven investments and locally designed programs have helped reduce the overall incidence of homelessness by 29 percent statewide and 74 percent for unsheltered households with children since 2006.”