Addressing Homelessness

Our region's current needs are outpacing care system shelter and affordable housing capacity, leaving too many seniors, families and individuals sleeping on the street and in vehicles. Many have lost their jobs, experienced a sudden financial challenge, or are temporarily "down on their luck". A 2016 Needs Assessment in which more than 1,000 individuals were surveyed shows that when we address homelessness, we are addressing a diverse group of people who all have unique stories.

Who is living homeless in Seattle?

  • Nearly 1/3 of people living unsheltered are under age 30 
  • 70 % of respondents to the 2016 Needs Assesment came to Seattle to join personal networks or pursue job opportunities
  • Only 15% of respondents to the 2016 Needs Assesment came to access homeless services          
  • 38% of people have lived in King County 10 years or more
  • People of color are disproportionately represented in the homeless population

Homeless Youth

Homeless Encampment

Homelessness Racial Disparities

What is contributing to homelessness?

  • Increased cost of living---particularly housing costs, across the region
  • Underfunded health service systems
  • Income loss
  • Prior criminal justice involvement, impacting the ability to acess housing and employment
  • Negative impacts on youth involved in the child welfare system
  • Education and employment gaps making housing unattainable and unaffordable

Average Studio Rent Increased

Washington State Mental Health Spending

One Bedroom Market Rent

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 maded 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

2018 City Homeless Response Budget