January 27, 2017 is Count Us In, our community’s annual Point in Time Count of individuals experiencing homelessness, formerly known as the One Night Count. This year, Count Us In will utilize new and improved data collection methods for the full range of count activities including a street count of people living unsheltered, a count of people living in shelter or transitional housing, a qualitative survey of people experiencing homelessness across King County, and specialized approaches to counting subpopulations, including youth/young adults, families, and those living in vehicles. The Count will be guided by a Steering Committee, made up of community members, to ensure a strong and accurate Point in Time Count.
In 2017, All Home and its many partners will work with Applied Survey Research (ASR), a Bay-area non-profit research firm, to conduct Count Us In. ASR has conducted 50+ counts in other communities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the past year, they have also coordinated a youth count in King County (as the national lead for University of Chicago’s Voices of Youth Count) and the City of Seattle’s Homeless Needs Assessment. For the past 10 years, All Home contracted with the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) to conduct this count. While SKCCH declined to participate in this year’s count, All Home commends their tremendous efforts conducting the One Night Count over the years.
Key changes to the 2017 Count will include:
- Count teams will include volunteers as well as Guides, who are currently or formerly homeless individuals with lived experience in or near their count area. The Guides will be paid $15/hour for their work.
- The unsheltered street count will shift from a “known area” count to a 100% canvass of every census tract in King County
- New data collection tools will be introduced for more efficient and simplified tallying and survey data collection
- Sample-based survey efforts including both shelter/service sites as well as non-service locations
While the Count’s core purpose is to collect data on the needs of people experiencing homelessness, it also provides an excellent opportunity to increase awareness and spark action. A successful and accurate Count is an essential component to informing our system response to community need and to ultimately making homelessness rare, brief and one-time. To learn more about Count Us In, please visit our website, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.