Addressing Homelessness

HSD's Homeless Strategy and Investment (HSI) Division focuses on assisting people in securing permanent housing to end their experiences of homelessness. Services are provided in three investment areas-prevention, emergency response, and housing-whereby service providers assist people who are at imminent risk of falling into homelessness or who are living without housing.

The Navigation Team is comprised of specially-trained police officers, field coordinators, and contracted outreach workers. As part of the City's emergency response, they work closely with other City departments-such as Parks, Utilities, and Fire-to ensure people living in homeless encampments receive the outreach, care, and connections to shelters they need to find a path to stable housing, and to remove unsafe encampments found on public rights-of-way, sidewalks, and in parks. .

Who is living homeless in Seattle?

The 2019 Count Us In annual Point in Time (PIT) count for Seattle and King County, found a total of 11,199 people experiencing homelessness countywide, including 5,971 people (53%) sheltered and 5,228 people (47%) unsheltered. While we continue our work to serve more people, more effectively, these numbers represent the first reduction in homelessness since 2012 for Seattle/King County - an overall decrease of eight percent compared to 2018, and a decrease of seventeen percent among the unsheltered population.

The full Count Us In report, released in May, included more detailed information on the results, including a sub-regional breakdown and a deeper analysis of the Count Us In survey responses. Here are just a few takeaways:

  • 2,451 individuals were in families with children
  • 1,089 individuals were unaccompanied youth and young adults
  • 830 individuals identified as veterans         
  • 2,147 individuals were living in vehicles
  • Homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color and people identifying as LGBTQ+

Homeless Youth

Photo of Camp Second Chance tiny house village in the Snow

How is the City addressing homelessness?

  • Seattle's policy framework for addressing homelessness is:
    • Person-centered service model
    • Invest in programs that effectively connect people to housing
    • Address racial disparities
  • To better connect people to permanent housing, the City changed the way it invests in the homeless services system. These changes were made in partnership with King County and United Way of King County.
  • Prevention, Emergency, and Housing are the three primary investment areas for the homeless services system
    • Prevention: Services to help people remain in their homes
    • Emergency: Services that provide safe spaces for people to stay, and a connection to housing
    • Housing: Services focused on permanent housing solutions including; rapid re-housing, diversion, and permanent supportive housing

Homeless Services System

City-Funded Hygiene Services Available During COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 forced hundreds of businesses and organizations to close their doors to prevent the spread of the virus. This map shows City-funded hygiene services that are open to people in need. These resources are provided by multiple City departments.

On the map below, please click on the Legend button for a description of what each of the different location symbols means.

All locations include access to restrooms. Some locations offer access to showers and laundry services. Some locations are open to the general public, whereas some are funded only for those experiencing homelessness and other locations are designed for specific groups of people such as women or children. Please click on the Filter Locations (Funnel) button to highlight specific types of services on the map.

Note: Layers must be turned on for filters to work properly. Please click the button in the upper right corner to Turn Layers On and Off. The map only shows OPEN restrooms and hygiene facilities. These facilities may unexpectedly close periodically due to vandalism, fires, and/or plumbing issues.

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