Although homelessness has declined by just over 2% nationally, the January 2016 King County One Night Count found over 4,505 homeless individuals in our community – living outside or in their cars. This represents a 19% increase in the number of people found outdoors over 2015 (King 5 News, January 29, 2016).
During the 2014-2015 School Year, Washington School Districts reported 35,511 students were homeless. More than half of those homeless students are in elementary school with majority of homeless being under the age of 14.
Homeless children experience the following:
Some of the major reasons for homelessness include:
A national study shows that every $100 increase in rent leads to a 15% increase in homelessness. Seattle saw the greatest rent increase of any big city in the country.
A recent report from the National low income Housing Coalition showed that a person has to make $23.56 an hour in King county to afford a one bedroom apartment. Even with the move to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, there is still a huge disparity between what people get paid and what they can afford to pay for housing.
Homeless families need safe housing and supportive services that promote housing stability and in some cases, time to rebuild their lives in order to transition to
permanent housing and self sufficiency.
Our temporary housing program, versus permanent housing, is important because it not only provides the critical housing element but social services as well with a focus to help people increase their coping and life management skills to resolve crisis in their lives. Housing such as this also allows residents to gain access to community-based resources more efficiently to increase housing stability and move into independent permanent housing.
The needs of the homeless are massive in our community and we realize that more needs to be done. We are expanding our services to focus more resources toward this need through the development of a Fast Track Housing program based on the federally preferred Rapid Re-Housing model, construction of additional transitional housing units and engaging our community as we work to improve our existing programs.
To protect the identities of the children and families you help, occasionally names, details and images are changed.