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Latest homeless count in King County breaks record with more than 16,000


(The Center Square) – The latest count of unhoused people living in King County reveals that homelessness in the region is at an all-time high.

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority conducted both an unsheltered and sheltered point-in-time, or PIT, count in January, with results showing 16,385 people experiencing homelessness in King County.

KCRHA released the PIT count on Wednesday. The count is required every other year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The 16,385 homeless people tallied by the agency is a 22.6% increase from the last point-in-time count conducted by the county in 2022, which found 13,368 homeless people in King County.

In 2020, there were 11,751 homeless people tallied in the PIT count.

Callie Craighead, press secretary for Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, told The Center Square that the office is reviewing the data to inform ongoing and future efforts to curb homelessness. Seattle provides KCRHA its largest portion of funding. The city provided 42% – $104.67 million – of the agency’s 2024 budget.

“The city will continue looking to and partnering with KCRHA as the lead agency in our region for reducing unsheltered homelessness to build efficiencies in the homelessness response system and develop countywide partnerships for a coordinated regional effort to address this continuing crisis,” Craighead said in an email.

King County is the most populous county in Washington state with approximately 2.3 million people. It is important to note that the PIT count is widely known to be an undercount of the actual number of unhoused people within a certain area.

In comparison, the most recent data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority showed a total of 71,320 homeless people living in the greater Los Angeles area.

The number of homeless people in San Francisco totaled 7,784 in 2022.

Not only has the number of homeless people increased in King County, but so has the funding for KCRHA, the organization responsible for coordinating funding and services for unhoused people across all of King County since 2019.

KCRHA was budgeted $249.1 million this year. A slight drop from the $253.3 million as part of the 2023 budget but a 45% jump from the nearly $171 million budgeted in 2022.

KCRHA did not respond to The Center Square’s request for comment at the time of publication.