Volunteers found them sleeping in parking garages, in vehicles, under structures and roadways, in bushes and other areas.
During King County’s annual One Night Count in January 2016, over 1,100 volunteers fanned out across the county one night and counted at least 4,505 men, women and children without shelter. That number is an increase of 19 percent over those found without shelter in 2015. Two hundred and forty-five of those individuals were found right here on the Eastside.
This week, the Reporter is launching our month-long series that focuses on homelessness.
Since homelessness affects not only the Mercer Island community, but the entire region, we have teamed up with other Sound Publishing newsrooms across the Eastside to offer our readers an in depth look at how the issue pervades several Eastside communities.
Most importantly, these stories will address homeless individuals’ many barriers to finding stable housing and what some organizations are doing to address these issues.
Our reporters went out of the newsroom and interviewed homeless people living outside, and others living in homeless shelters. They also spoke with various Eastside organizations that support people struggling to find permanent housing or with certain issues that could lead to homelessness.
We will also cover the Count Us In event — formerly called the One Night Count — on Jan. 27, when hundreds of volunteers will once again count individuals experiencing homelessness across the county.
Our goal is to increase awareness of homelessness, to illustrate people’s needs in our community and hopefully inspire readers to take action and learn more about this challenging issue.