No night count
The King County Regional Homelessness Authority announced that it would not conduct the point-in-time count (PIT) of people experiencing homelessness for the second year in a row in an FAQ posted to the authority’s website.
The PIT is usually conducted at the end of January every year. Hundreds of volunteers spread out through the county and note when they see a person sleeping rough, a tent or vehicles that look as though they are residences.
It’s generally considered an undercount, “which can be harmful in skewing the narrative and limiting the budget and resources dedicated to solutions,” the KCHRA wrote in its FAQ.
Instead, the KCHRA plans to conduct “qualitative engagements” with homeless people and work with data partners to find other ways of collecting more accurate information about the number of people who are surviving outside in the county.
The federal government requires Continuums of Care (CoC) to conduct a PIT every other year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) waived the requirement in 2021 due to the coronavirus, but, as Erica C. Barnett reported in PubliCola, they are not doing so this year. That may impact the amount of federal money that KCHRA can get from the federal government.
The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness conducted the PIT for approximately 37 years before All Home King County — the predecessor to KCHRA — took over the task in 2017. The organization worked with outside firms to create a new methodology that broke the county into a new series of tracts and created multipliers for vehicles and tents to approximate how many people might be living inside.
All Home warned that the 2017 results would not be comparable to previous counts because of the methodological change. That may be true for future counts if KCHRA takes them in a new direction.
The New York Times reported that the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African countries to contain a new coronavirus variant that the World Health Organization (WHO) dubbed “Omicron.”
The variant has a large number of mutations “some of which are concerning,” WHO officials said in a statement.
“Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection compared to other variants,” according to the release.
The first known case of the variant was from a sample taken on Nov. 9, and the number of cases “appears to be increasing in almost all provinces of South Africa,” WHO reported.
There is good news, as such — the variant can still be detected by existing PCR tests.
Read more of the Dec. 1-7, 2021 issue.