San Juan County Homeless Count Holds Steady
The 2019 San Juan County “Point-In Time” (PIT) Homeless Count identified 149 people who have no stable place to live, an increase from the 2018 count of 120 but similar to the 2017 count of 154.
Of the 149 people identified as having no stable place to live, 67 people were living out of doors, in vehicles, in abandoned buildings, or in an RV or boat that lacked one of the following: drinking water, a restroom, heat, the ability to cook food, or the ability to bathe. The remaining 82 were at risk of homelessness, in temporary, unstable living arrangements, often with friends or family. In 2018, the count found 57 people homeless and 63 at risk of homelessness. The 2017 count found 96 homeless and 58 at risk of homelessness.
The first San Juan County count, conducted in 2005 counted 21 homeless or at risk of homelessness. The numbers have varied with an overall upward trend since then. The state mandated count was conducted on Thursday, January 24, 2019. The count was initiated by the State of Washington in 2005 (RCW43.185C). The Washington State Department of Commerce oversees the count statewide.
The one night PIT Count is by definition variable and in San Juan County can fluctuate greatly from year to year. In past years, people living in substandard structures lacking amenities were included in the count. Due to changes in definitions at the Department of Commerce, these populations are now only counted if they are living in an RV or a boat.
Count organizers and volunteers worked with local family resource centers, food banks, churches, healthcare providers, senior centers, libraries, the sheriff’s office, schools and pre-schools and many other community support service providers to conduct the count. Volunteer training was provided on all three major islands. San Juan County Housing Program Coordinator Ryan Page extends his sincerest thanks to all the many volunteers involved in the count.
For more information, contact: Ryan Page, San Juan County Housing Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (360) 370-0590.