Snohomish County’s homeless population living on the streets on the rise

The tally isn’t final, but Thursday’s Point in Time count of homeless people in Snohomish County shows an increase over 2011 numbers.

Volunteers counted 2,382 people in 1,401 households without permanent places to stay, according to incomplete data released Tuesday. That’s up 109 individuals and 16 households from last year’s count, which totaled 2,273 people in 1,385 households. A household is considered a family or two or more people who live together.

An estimated 829 homeless people who were counted this year were children under 18, 115 were veterans and 381 said they were victims of domestic violence.

Nate Marti, a human services specialist with the county’s Community and Homeless Services, said Tuesday that official figures should be verified by late February.

A federal requirement, the annual count is used to assess needs and receive grant money to tackle homelessness. People in temporary housing and on the streets are surveyed by volunteers from several sites around Snohomish County. Those questioned are not identified by name.

The count identifies three categories of homelessness:

People in shelters or transitional housing: This year’s count found 1,336 in 662 households, compared with 1,352 in 672 households in 2011.

People unsheltered and on the streets: This year’s count found 723 in 541 households, compared with 587 in 493 households in 2011.

People precariously housed, doubled up or couch surfing: This year’s count found 323 in 198 households, compared with 334 in 220 households in 2011.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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