Connie's Council Update

Point in Time Homeless Count Report

This is going to be my last E-Blast until December.
(More on that later in the article.)

Recently a couple hundred people hit the streets. They went up to “street” people and asked them if they would mind answering a few questions. Many of them agreed. From this survey the County and many of its cities have a small idea of the status of homelessness in our communities. This one time touch on one day only is known as the “Point in Time” survey and helps our governments, agencies and providers prioritize and implement strategies for housing and services to respond to homelessness.

It is no surprise to anyone that we have homelessness in Pierce County. It is a growing social problem not only here but throughout the United States. Homeless is not just the grizzled man on the corner with a sign. It is much broader. Some quick numbers from the County from that one day survey: total number of homeless - 1,762; 1,352 adults and 410 children. 949 are male and 751 are female.  90 are youth and young adults. Homelessness has increased by 37% since 2015. 31% have mental illness, 24% are chronically homeless and 17% have a substance abuse problem.  26% have a physical disability, 28% are fleeing domestic violence, and 11% are Veterans. Other data (2014) collected by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction shows that we have over 4000 homeless families throughout our Pierce County schools.

View the Full Report

Point in Time Report

So what is the County doing about this?

We are in partnership with the City of Tacoma to open a young adult center, never done before in this county. We are currently doing a review of services throughout the county. Our Street Outreach teams are working to assess the unsheltered people to help make appropriate referrals. We have worked with shelter and housing providers in support of a coordinated entry program, a one stop shop for people to find out where there is availability for shelter and housing. Our shelter system, both Cities and County, operates a total pf 927 shelter beds, 405 of which are seasonal (cold weather months – November thru March). We have at least twice that number of homeless. There is not enough housing or shelter beds for everyone who sleeps outside. That answers the question, “Why do we see so many people on the streets?” We need to do more. I will be supporting our staff in developing a strategic Work Plan for addressing unsheltered homelessness. We will bring together stakeholders engaged in addressing homelessness – whether directly, such as housing providers, or indirectly, such as law enforcement, emergency services and community residents.

Why is this my last e-blast until December? Our County code states that during a campaign year, we may not mail either by regular mail or electronic mail, to a constituent at public expense. This includes a letter, newsletter, brochure, or other piece of literature. However, I will still be available by phone, email, or letter. And I am also able to attend any community meetings to talk about County issues. Please feel free to contact my office.


Connie Ladenburg
District 4 Pierce County Council

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