When the Seattle Office of Housing said it would conduct a survey of people living on the street, some homeless advocates grumbled the city was trying to co-opt their annual One Night Count.
Not to worry. On the evening of April 13, according to preliminary data released by the city, the city's 512 volunteers surveyed a grand total of 303 people -- a small subset of the 1,977 people the One Night Count observed just on the streets of Seattle in January.
The city plans to use the data to help house more homeless people ("City sending out teams to ask: What do you need?" April 1-7). But if it can't find them, how can it help? In the 163 areas surveyors went to, there were 21 "quality assurance volunteers" -- aka, decoys -- that the surveyors were supposed to find. They found seven.