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SKY HIGH NUMBERS. Are folks flocking to Seattle to access our city’s homeless services? Let’s let the data tell the story. Thanks for tagging #theevergrey, Kavya! (📸: @thecaveat)
ARE PEOPLE FLOCKING TO SEATTLE FOR HOMELESS SERVICES?
King County has the third largest homeless population in the our country, and is in its third year of a declared homelessness state of emergency. So: Is there an influx of homeless folks from outside Seattle coming to the city for its services? To begin to answer this question, let’s look at the data.
WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US: There’s one report to rule them all when it comes to understanding homelessness in Seattle — All Home’s Count Us In point-in-time survey. This year’s snapshot, taken one night in late January, estimates there were 12,112 people experiencing homelessness across our county. That’s up from 11,643 last year.
DID THEY BECOME HOMELESS HERE? Yes, mostly. To be more specific: A large majority lost their housing while living in King County. A smaller majority lost their housing while living in Seattle. And there’s no evidence in the data of any recent spike in outsiders. Here’s what the numbers say:
HOW MANY OF THEM ARE FROM HERE? Many of our houseless neighbors aren’t recent arrivals. In a survey this year, about a third said they were born or grew up in the county. An additional 21 percent said they’d lived in King County for more than a decade. And about 11 percent said they’d lived here for less than a year.
HOW MANY AREN’T? About 11 percent said they lived elsewhere in Washington State when they lost their housing. About 6 percent said they were from out of state.
WHY DO WE RELY ON ALL HOME’S REPORT FOR ALL THIS? In short, because it appears to be the best data set we have to understand the magnitude of the problem in our region.
Our annual point-in-time counts have always had their shortcomings. They rely on self-reported data, the current report goes back just a couple years (a prior, similar annual survey called the One Night Count tracked homelessness going back to the 1970s), and though they’ve evolved to become more comprehensive over time, there’s plenty they don’t ask. But these counts are — as far as we know — the only regularly updated public survey of locals experiencing homelessness that we have.
“No one else is doing a better version of the one-night count that we can choose from, and that’s really a product of the fact that this country has not done data analysis of people experiencing homelessness before 10 years ago,” said Eric Bronson, YWCA Seattle’s digital advocacy manager.
Kira Zylstra, acting director at All Home King County, cited the existence of “hidden homelessness” and people who don’t want to be counted.
“This is one source of data in our community and it’s not the full picture,” Kira told us. “No community has a 100 percent accurate method for counting individuals.”
WHAT DO ADVOCATES THINK of the claim that outsiders are flocking to Seattle? “It’s a myth that won’t die,” said Daniel Malone, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center.
» Why? Stay tuned for part 2 of our answer tomorrow. In the meantime…
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU CURIOUS ABOUT?
The Evergrey will be answering one new reader question about homelessness in Seattle in the coming weeks, and guess what? We won’t be the only ones. Crosscut, GeekWire, KUOW, Patch, ParentMap, Real Change, and Seattlepi.com will all be hearing and answering locals’ deep down honest questions in a collaborative project we hope can help make a difference.
Got a new question you’d like to see answered? » Go here to ask it » and any of these awesome local outlets might report out your answer. 👍
Big thanks to our partners — GeekWire, Crosscut, Seattlepi.com, Real Change, Patch, ParentMap, and KUOW for accepting our invite to join in this project; to Crosscut for coordinating #SeaHomeless day today; to Hearken for letting us use their tool for this collaborative local project; and to all of you for thinking and caring about your city.
NOW HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY
It’s #SeaHomeless day. For the third year in a row, Seattle area media orgs are putting the spotlight on one of the toughest things our region’s dealing with — homelessness. Follow the #SeaHomeless hashtag today to check in with the stories, projects, and conversations coming in from across the city. A couple early morning highlights: This Crosscut video showing a day in the life of Anthony Battiste, a father of four who’s experiencing homelessness, and this Seattle Times story about Ballard, where homelessness has quadrupled and tensions are high. 🏠
We’re mixing it up. Want to see some fascinating stats? Check out this update on the demographics of King County. FYI Guy Gene Balk took a close look at the 32,700 newbies who arrived between summer 2016 and summer 2017, and only 5 percent of ‘em were white. Ten percent were black, 18 percent were Latino, and a whopping 59 percent were Asian. One thing that might have driven that? The tech industry. One of every three software developers are of Asian descent, and that’s the top job in Seattle. (The Seattle Times)
Still on top. Sixty-five construction cranes are towering over Seattle right now, and that’s a lot. In fact, it’s the most of any U.S. city. If it feels like you’ve heard that before, that’s because our city has been the crane capital of America for three years in a row now. And we’ve got quite the lead over second place Chicago, which has 40 cranes. Where do our cranes hang out? Forty-one of ‘em are in South Lake Union, downtown, and Capitol Hill. (The Seattle Times)
Dancing on duty? Seattle police were getting down in Belltown Tuesday night for a lip sync video they’re filming to the tune of “Downtown” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. A bunch of police departments around the country are challenging each other to make these, and reaping the social media love when the clips inevitably go viral. Considering the troubles in policing these days, not everyone’s a fan. “I’d like to see more videos of police SERVING our communities and protecting the most vulnerable people,” reader Hazel Grace Dircksen wrote on our Facebook page. “I don’t need any silly PR stunts right now, even if it’s fun.” (KING 5)
HERE'S WHAT'S COMING UP
🍳 Saturday: Give high-fives to local mentors at Big Brothers Big Sippers Brunch, a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound (Capitol Hill) — 🆕
💰 Wednesday, July 25: Get the basics on bookkeeping, local tax deadlines, and more at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)
🍸 Friday, July 27: Dance, drink, and discover at Theory, Pacific Science Center’s big summer bash. (Queen Anne)
Check out this event from our advertiser, Pacific Science Center.
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🍴 Nom on local eats at Magnuson Park (Sand Point)
🎈 Fly your rainbow flag at Pride on the beach (West Seattle)
🚗 Gawk at hundreds of cool cars at Wekfest (SoDo)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership. Is an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.
LOOK WHO’S GOING TO A PARTY
Congrats, Aarti Soni and laph8! You’ve each won a pair of tickets to Theory, Pacific Science Center’s big outdoor summer bash next Friday. 🙌
And hey — thanks to everyone who welcomed new subscribers to The Evergrey yesterday. You one of the newbies? Hit reply and say hello. We always love to hear from you.
Have a good one, all. — The Evergrey