County survey finds 1,312 homeless people

The number of homeless people found living on Snohomish County streets during last week’s Point in Time count was 12 percent greater than last year’s total.

According to data released early this week by the county Human Services department, the Jan. 23 survey found 1,312 people who identified themselves as homeless, 41 more than last year.

That number includes 33 people living in abandoned buildings, 227 people living outside in tents and on the street, and 122 people living in vehicles. Another 602 people, in 327 “households,” were found to be living in emergency shelters or transitional housing.

And although they do not meet the federal definition of homeless, 325 people said they were couch-surfing or temporarily living with family or friends.

The county continues to compile data from this year’s survey and is expected to release a full report next month.

More than 130 volunteers conducted the survey across Snohomish County. Working from five staging areas, they gave out food, warm clothes, hygiene kits, ORCA cards for transportation, sleeping bags and tents. At the staging areas, people got help applying for health coverage and food stamps.

The annual count is required for the county to receive state and federal funding to alleviate homelessness.

Project Homeless Connect, a day-long event that provides direct services to homeless people, has been scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 10 at Everett’s Cascade High School, according to Neil Parekh, vice president of marketing and communications for United Way of Snohomish County. Held annually since 2008, the event is a collaboration between the county, the city of Everett and service organizations.

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