Homelessness emergency declared in Seattle / King County

This morning Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine proclaimed that regional homelessness has reached a “state of emergency.”  Such proclamations are usually reserved for natural disasters, but Murray explained that local deaths related to homelessness have surpassed those caused by natural disasters in 2015.  Both the county and the city plan to increase funding for homelessness services, and will work to secure support from Washington state and the federal government.  An additional $5.3 million from the sale of city property will be used to address homelessness issues.  About half of those funds will be applied to homelessness prevention efforts.

According to the Seattle Times, last January’s One Night Count reported “3,772 men, women and children without shelter in King County, including more than 2,800 in Seattle – a 21 percent increase over 2014.”  When Communities Count reported on student homelessness in the 2012-2013 school year, 6,188 students in King County public schools were homeless.  According to the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, that number increased to 6,448 in 2013-2014.