It’s that time again.
On Friday, Jan. 24, volunteers will span King County for the annual point-in-time count, a homelessness census that takes place in communities throughout the country to determine if progress has been made fighting homelessness.
Volunteers led by guides with lived experience of homelessness will mark down each person, tent and vehicle they encounter outside. People in shelters will fill out a survey with personal details like why they became homeless in the first place. Policymakers and pundits will lean on the results for the rest of the year.
For the past two years, All Home King County has led the local point-in-time count, branded as “Count Us In,” with assistance from the social research firm Applied Survey Research (ASR).
This year, the work will be conducted with a new company, Vega Nguyen Research.
With ASR, King County did not release the numbers of people experiencing homelessness until the summer in each of the two years. Previously, when the count was conducted by the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH), results would be announced the next day — still in January, in the cold and the wet.
That is in part because ASR had multiple clients, and because their methodology for determining the number of people outside was more complicated than when the count was conducted by SKCCH.
In those years, every tent and car were marked as two people, whereas ASR created a unique multiplier for each structure type. Those multipliers were typically smaller than two, meaning that the number of unsheltered homeless people was lower than it might have been under the other system.
Data from the count is used to mark whether the number of people experiencing homelessness in King County has gone up or down. However, officials say it is a snapshot of homelessness in the region and likely an undercount. Other available estimates come from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a database software that tracks when people make contact with services like shelters.
Today in history
For the first time in more than 20 years, the Senate convened to hold an impeachment trial Jan. 21 of the United States president, and it seemed things were about to get testy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released proposed rules that would have forced the proceedings into the dead of night, but received enough resistance to pull back on those restrictions. One remaining question is whether or not the Senate will hear from new witnesses. The White House prevented several potential witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the events from testifying before the House of Representatives.
The House passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. While it is unlikely he will be removed from office, Trump is only the third occupant of the White House to face a trial in the Senate.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
Read the full Jan. 22-28 issue.
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