Measuring Youth Homelessness in King County

Count Us In logo (image of raised hands)
Tue, 07/17/2012

“In King County, Washington, 685 youth and young adults were homeless or unstably housed on May 16, 2012.” This is the conclusion of a new report on “Count Us In,” a point-in-time count of homeless youth in King County, conducted by a group of youth service providers and key community members from across the county with support from the United Way of King County. YouthCare was one of the organizers of this effort, and hosted a drop-in site for youth on the night of the count.

A total of 685 youth and young adults ages 13 to 25 were identified. Of these, 408 were staying in shelter or transitional housing programs, and 277 were surveyed at program sites and other places that homeless youth frequent. Of the 277 surveyed youth, 81 were literally homeless, 70 were imminently losing their housing and 126 were unstably housed.

This is the second year the count has been conducted, and the numbers have increased since 2011. This increase can be attributed to the expanded approach and intentional efforts to partner with agencies in South Seattle. Hedda McLendon, YouthCare’s Director of Programs and co-organizer of the count, notes, “Many of the findings mirror the field knowledge on where there are gaps in services, which affirms the need for us to continue to come together as a community to solve this problem.”

She also points out that while this year’s effort was greatly expanded from last year, “We continue to expand the effort and refine the approach. We have not effectively covered the entire county, especially the Eastern part.” Thus, this number is likely to be an undercount of the true number of young people who are homeless in King County on any given night. Some youth are reluctant to self-identify as homeless, while others avoid traditional youth service providers. The organizers note that they will need to continue to strategize on how to engage this group of young people to be counted and to better inform responses to youth homelessness in King County.

Download the full report (pdf).

 

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Count Us In 2012 Report930.23 KB