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Unsheltered homeless population in Spokane increases 52% from 2020

The Point-in-Time count found a total of 1,757 people in Spokane County are experiencing homelessness.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane’s Neighborhood, Housing and Human Services Department released its findings from the Point-in-Time count of the homeless population in Spokane County on Friday.

Neighborhood, Housing and Human Services spokesperson Brian Walker said the Point-in-Time count found a total of 1,757 people in Spokane County are experiencing homelessness. According to the data, 934 people were sheltered and 823 were unsheltered. The city said the shelter count saw a 6% decrease from 2021. The unsheltered count increased 52% from 2020. The city said this marks the fifth consecutive year with an overall increase in the homeless population.

According to a press release, the attributed this year’s increase to a change in the Point-in-Time Count methodology, the limited ability for operators of deposit and rental assistance programs to spend their budget due to housing affordability and availability constraints and the increased cost of housing.

The Point-in-Time count also found that 82% of those counted this year were over the age of 25 and 48% of adults (or 495) counted reported having a serious mental illness. It also found that 9% (or 157) of adults reported being a survivor of domestic violence.    

The Point-in-Time count is used to determine what resources are needed for those experiencing homelessness in Spokane.

The Point-in-Time count has been held since 2005 as part of an initiative to give federally-funded communities a snapshot of where they live. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year's count did not take place. The last overall count took place in 2020 and identified roughly 1,500 people experiencing homelessness in the area.

The city is expected to present PIT Count Results to community stakeholders over the coming weeks.

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