Homelessness in King County is up. The number of homeless people sleeping outside jumped a heartbreaking 21 percent since this time last year, according to a count organized by Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness last Friday. The official numbers?
King County: 3,772 people sleeping outside (649 more than last year)
Seattle: 2,813 people sleeping outside (510 more than last year)
Volunteers walked through King County between 2 and 5 a.m. last Friday, counting and recording. Most of the people they found were sleeping in vehicles or tents. Approximately 300 were sleeping in doorways. Another 170 were sleeping under roadways.
No one knows the actual number of homeless people in King County, as many people stayed hidden during the count, so when you think about the thousands of men, women, and children living on the streets, think bigger. Homelessness is a problem when it affects one person, but when that problem affects thousands? Something needs to change.
Seattle might have just experienced Juneuary, with bizarre 60 degree winter temperatures, but that’s small comfort for those sleeping on the streets. Warm temperatures don’t provide safety or security. Warm temperatures don’t give someone the peace of home. Warm temperatures don’t fill a stomach or heal an injury. As Realtors, we know the importance of home more than anyone, and we know that without a home, these people have a hard time. A very hard time.
Now, more than ever, Seattle should come together to help the homeless. Nonprofits like Mary’s Place dedicate themselves to helping women, children, and families climb out of homelessness, but these organizations have tight budgets and limited volunteers.
That’s where we come in. Individual people like you and me can donate time and money. The Real Estate Gals have long supported Mary’s Place, and this year, we’re stepping it up and starting Agents of Change (we’ll keep you updated on that). We challenge you to do the same.
Photo by Tamra Pontow