‘We must do more:’ Washington struggles with rising homelessness, new data shows

Mar 29, 2023, 5:47 AM | Updated: 8:40 am

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

Washington state ranks second in the country for most unhoused people per capita, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

By the end of 2022, the department counted 25,211. The population of unhoused people in the state has increased by more than two thousand since 2020, indicating that the problem is only getting worse.

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin is keenly aware of the struggle on her streets. During her state of the city address a few weeks ago, she argued demand for services is growing but said they’re strapped for resources.

“I hear from concerned business owners and residents multiple times a day. I know conditions are not good, and we must do more,” said Franklin.

The Mayor also asserts that Snohomish County’s entire behavioral health services and support systems are concentrated in Everett.

Julie Willie, Everett’s community development director, says the city is seeing more calls for service.

“We know there are a variety of reasons why people are living unsheltered: poverty, the impacts of inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have displaced individuals and families,” said Willie. “We also see individuals who are highly addicted and opt to remain unsheltered rather than seek treatment and service options.”

Everett local Hannah Hayward shared she’s seen improvements in her neighborhood, but that does not mean the crisis is over and done with.

“You still see it everywhere: the drugs, the homelessness, and it’s really sad,” said Hayward. “I wish they could get help.”

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‘We must do more:’ Washington struggles with rising homelessness, new data shows