“Count Me In” Volunteers Count Homeless in Greater Seattle

“Count Me In” Volunteers Count Homeless in Greater Seattle Seven people from the Highline Church in Burien, Wash., joined the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness for One Night Count to help count homeless people in King County. The Adventist volunteers were a part of 735 total volunteers—or counters—who worked in 100 teams in eight areas between Seattle and Federal Way. Between 2 and 5 a.m., counters traveled night-owl bus routes, contacted homeless shelters and walked or drove around to designated areas to count people under bridges, in doorways, or in cars or makeshift structures. In all, the January night count yielded a minimum of 2,140 people who were trying to survive without housing or shelter throughout King County. “I’m not a night person, so I thought I’d be tired and grouchy,” said Highline Church volunteer Joyce Moore. “The energy and excitement of the volunteers at 2 a.m. perked me up and made the cold and late night worth it. We all knew our job: to seek out people and raise awareness.” A press release from the Homelessness Coalition indicates that the numbers from One Night Count only offer a snapshot on homelessness and that the actual number of homeless people is at least three times higher. A reduced number of point-in-time homeless counts for 2006 and 2007 indicate a community plan, aiming to reduce area homelessness in 10 years, is gradually working. Alison Eisinger, coalition director, was pleased with the growing number of volunteers saying it indicated an expanding desire to end homelessness. “We need even wider public [involvement] to meet the urgent needs in our community,” she said. Already, Highline Church members are saying “count me in” to participate in the next homeless count.

“Count Me In”

Volunteers Count Homeless in Greater Seattle

Seven people from the Highline Church in Burien, Wash., joined the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness for One Night Count to help count homeless people in King County.

The Adventist volunteers were a part of 735 total volunteers—or counters—who worked in 100 teams in eight areas between Seattle and Federal Way. Between 2 and 5 a.m., counters traveled night-owl bus routes, contacted homeless shelters and walked or drove around to designated areas to count people under bridges, in doorways, or in cars or makeshift structures. In all, the January night count yielded a minimum of 2,140 people who were trying to survive without housing or shelter throughout King County.

“I’m not a night person, so I thought I’d be tired and grouchy,” said Highline Church volunteer Joyce Moore. “The energy and excitement of the volunteers at 2 a.m. perked me up and made the cold and late night worth it. We all knew our job: to seek out people and raise awareness.”

A press release from the Homelessness Coalition indicates that the numbers from One Night Count only offer a snapshot on homelessness and that the actual number of homeless people is at least three times higher. A reduced number of point-in-time homeless counts for 2006 and 2007 indicate a community plan, aiming to reduce area homelessness in 10 years, is gradually working.

Alison Eisinger, coalition director, was pleased with the growing number of volunteers saying it indicated an expanding desire to end homelessness. “We need even wider public [involvement] to meet the urgent needs in our community,” she said.

Already, Highline Church members are saying “count me in” to participate in the next homeless count.

April 01, 2007 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella