A gong sounded for every homeless person found outside the darkness of Jan. 25.
It rang 2,736 times.
Organized by advocates for the homeless, including Real Change, the gong was part of a ceremony that took place at City Hall following the One Night Count, an annual census of Seattle’s homeless conducted mostly by volunteers and organized by Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH). The count has been held for 33 years.
More than 800 volunteers set out from 10 locations in the early morning darkness of Jan. 25, looking under bridges, in parked cars and doorways in order to count of the county’s homeless. They counted 2,736 people.
This year’s One Night Count found 142 more homeless than last year, a 5.47 percent increase.
This number does not include those living in a shelter or in transitional housing, who are counted separately through point-in-time counts organized individually by each county.
Though the One Night Count is used as an opportunity to document the county’s homeless population, SKCCH sees it as a catalyst for action and change. The number of homeless people counted each January has been increasing, and organizers of the One Night Count hope that the volunteers who participate in it will continue to advocate for homeless people.
On Feb. 9, the Coalition is offering a free Homelessness Advocacy Workshop for those interested in discovering simple actions and potential legislative changes that could impact the homeless. The workshop will take place at Plymouth Church in Seattle from 10 a.m. to noon, and at Sophia’s Place at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.