Count Us In and One Night Count: 2013 Results

UPDATE: On January 24, 2013, Count Us In surveyed 776 unstably housed youth in King County. Of the 776 youth and young adults (YYA), 12% were under 18 years old, 51% were female, and 60% were people of color. Of the total 776 YYA, 329 were unsheltered, at imminent risk of homelessness or at risk of homelessness, 145 YYA were in emergency shelter, and 302 were in transitional housing programs. To read the preliminary 2013 Count Us In Report, click here.

On Thursday, January 24th, Teen Feed, along with several youth agencies across King County, participated in the 3rd Annual Count Us In, a point in time count of unstably housed youth sponsored by United Way of King County.  This year’s event combined efforts with One Night CountSeattle King County Coalition on Homelessness‘s long-standing street count of homeless individuals. The collaboration between Count Us In and One Night Count will allow us to best learn from and count homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults in King County and pilot youth strategies for 2013 point-in-time counts of homeless people for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH).

Count Us In started in 2011 to gain a clearer understanding of the number of young people without a stable place to live on any given night in King County. Sponsored by United Way of King County, Count Us In documents the nature and extent of homelessness among youth and young adults in King County, and builds better understanding about this unique population, their reasons for experiencing homelessness, and their needs. Led by a steering committee consisting of  representatives from King County, the City of Seattle, the United Way of King County and youth and young adult service providers, the 2012 Count Us In recorded a conservative number of 685 homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults in King County. These metrics gained the attention of local and regional leaders. The 2013 Count Us In effort surveyed 776 unstably housed youth in King County. Click here to read the preliminary 2013 Count Us In Report. 

The One Night Count is King County’s annual point in time count of all people who are homeless. The One Night Count documents the nature and extent of homelessness in King County and builds public engagement around the issue. The number of homeless individuals counted in our community is reported to Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a requirement for $22 million in federal funds designated for homeless housing and services each year in King County. The One Night Count focuses on both people in shelter and transitional housing and people who are homeless and without shelter. The Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness leads the street count of homeless individuals throughout King County. The 2013 One Night Count recorded 2,736 unsheltered individuals in King County. Click here to read the 2013 One Night Count report.

Impacting the National Conversation about Youth
King County is one of nine communities asked by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to pilot youth strategies for 2013 point-in-time counts of homeless people. To best learn from and count homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults in King County, Count Us In and the One Night Count have joined efforts. The combined data will inform the comprehensive plan to end youth and young adult homelessness, helping us understand the scope of the problem and whether we are making progress toward solving it. Here’s how we made youth count together:

  • King County youth and young adult providers surveyed young people as part of Count Us In during the day to early evening on January 24, 2013.  Surveys were conducted with youth known to be unstably housed or homeless, in public areas where they congregate, drop in centers and meal programs for homeless youth.  King County and Seattle libraries hosted count tables in strategic library branches.
  • As the day drew to the evening and the One Night Count began, agencies serving homeless youth hosted “sleepover” events during the night/early morning on January 25, 2013.  Young people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets gathered at these locations to be counted.
  • Data collected during Count Us In efforts will be added to the One Night Count efforts and reported to HUD, providing a count of homeless young people in two categories; under 18 and 18 – 24 years old. Additional data gathered through Count Us In will be reported to USICH, including numbers of youth who are unstably housed, and greater demographic information from the surveys.

MAKING IT COUNT at TEEN FEED

As a participant of Count Us In, Teen Feed held an extended dinner on Thursday, January 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm where Teen Feed staff and volunteers surveyed 82 guests anonymously about their housing status. Later that night, Teen Feed hosted an overnight drop-in, where 34 Teen Feed guests snacked on nachos, watched movies, played ping pong and slept overnight to be counted. Special thanks to our amazing volunteers for creating a warm and welcoming environment for youth!

We are inspired by the King County-wide effort to recognize, count and inform about the youth and young adults experiencing homelessness today. The information collected will help our communities identify the issue of youth homelessness and provide direction needed to best support young people in need. If you have questions about Count Us In, please reach Interim Executive Director, Ryan Fouts, at 206.522.4366 or ryan@teenfeed.org.