Depending on how you look at it, half of King County’s homeless are local

Jun 1, 2018, 12:21 PM
homeless population...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)

Depending on how long you believe someone needs to live in a city to be a true local, you could say either 32 percent of King County’s homeless population are locals, or more than 50 percent were when they became homeless.

RELATED: County’s homeless population continues to increase

The latest snapshot of the county’s homeless population shows more than 3,800 people were either born or grew up in King County. About 2,500 people were here for at least 10 years before becoming homeless.

That’s 53 percent of the 12,112 estimated to be homeless when the county canvassed the area on Jan. 26, 2018.

The rest of survey respondents have lived in the area for nine years or less.

A total of 83 percent of those who responded to All Home’s survey reported living in Seattle/King County when they lost permanent housing. Eleven percent said they lived in another county in the state when they became homeless. And 6 percent, or approximately 730 people, resided outside of the state and moved here.

The data shows that while the bulk of homeless aren’t coming from outside the area when they become homeless, hundreds still are.

Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don that they are not encouraging homeless people to move to Seattle.

“We don’t do that at all,” he said.

What’s happening, Troyer says, is people living on the streets feel “invited” by Seattle’s policies and services. Pierce County officials are asked why things aren’t more like Seattle, Troyer says.

Seattle alone pumped $54 million into homeless services last year. Fifty percent was for shelters and authorized encampments. See how all the funding breaks down here.

By the way, Pierce County’s latest point-in-time count found 1,628 homeless individuals.

Seattle is by far the most popular city for people to be living in at the time they lose their housing. That’s followed by Kent, Renton, and Federal Way.

The numbers might help explain why there are more and more Washington-born residents ditching King County for cheaper digs. In 2016, fewer than 50 percent of the county’s population was made up of true locals.

A recent report from Redfin shows that more than 100,000 people are leaving King County each year, though the population is still growing. All the while King County home prices continue to smash records, with the median cost of a home surpassing $700,000.

Those who remain in King County when they become homeless are now more likely to be sleeping in vehicles, according to All Home’s report. There are almost as many people living in vehicles now as the number of homeless people who were born/raised in the county when they became homeless.

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Depending on how you look at it, half of King County’s homeless are local