Annual Homeless Point In Time Count Marks Overall Increase In Homelessness
The results of this year's Homeless Point In Time Count for Chelan and Douglas Counties are in, and the numbers indicate a slightly bleaker picture than last year.
The 2024 count surveyed 141 people who are experiencing homelessness in the two-county area, marking an increase of 16.5 percent over last year's count when 121 people were found to be without proper permanent shelter.
Chelan County Commissioner Shon Smith says it appears most of the homeless people in the area are locals.
"As part of the survey, we try and figure out where people are from. We had about 101 of those folks we surveyed answer some pretty detailed questions to find out where their last permanent housing was, and the majority of them - about sixty-six people, said that their last known permanent home was in a city in Chelan or Douglas County."
In addition, the survey recorded 341 people who are staying in emergency shelters – including the Wenatchee Valley's two RV safe parks, transitional housing programs or hotels through an emergency voucher program. That number marks a decrease of 27 people, or roughly eight percent from last year.
Smith says the annual count also creates an opportunity to provide assistance for those who are experiencing homelessness.
"It gives us an idea of where to send them for help so that we can hopefully break their cycle of homelessness. In some cases we can use diversion funds, which are one-time monies that help people from falling through the cracks and into a housing crisis."
The survey defines homelessness as anyone living outdoors or in a vehicle, RV, abandoned building, tent or any other place not intended for habitation.
The results of this year's Point In Time Count will now be utilized to procure grant funding from local, state, and federal sources that is designed to assist with homelessness issues.