Responding To The Increase In Homelessness
Homelessness is a crisis for individuals, families and our community. This year’s one night count found 3,772 people sleeping outside in King County—an increase of 21% over last year. To respond to this crisis, United Way sees shelters as a key solution and is investing $2 million in getting people off the streets, an increase of $900,000 this year. These dollars will connect people to immediate services through emergency shelter and outreach workers, the first steps to getting people into housing. Here’s what those extra dollars are doing:
Emergency shelter: increase the number of beds and invest in staff. Due to capacity, shelters are forced to turn people away on a regular basis. We are investing an additional $500,000 in 150 new shelter beds this year as well as staff support to help move people out of shelter. Shelters are meant to be short-term solutions and we know that the longer people stay, the more difficult it is for them to change their situation. This increased investment in staff will help people connect more quickly to longer-term solutions.
Provide outreach workers with new tools. We are investing $400,000 in the Streets to Home program. Outreach workers have funds to help people who are sleeping on the street move to safety and find immediate solutions that fit their individual needs. These funds provide things like transportation costs for someone to stay with a nearby family member or help with car repairs.
Because of your support, we’re able to respond to current needs quickly with proven solutions. Want a more in depth look at our work to end homelessness over the years with what’s worked and what hasn’t? Check out this blog from our director of ending homelessness.