Gong ringers count-off for homeless population

Jan 25, 2013
Ed Yourdon / Creative Commons

Over 2,000 people sleep outside in the cold according to One Night Count which tracks King County’s homeless population. Outside Seattle City Hall today, many involved with the count struck a gong for every homeless person found during this year's count.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

If you’ve been to downtown Seattle, you’ve probably seen people talking to themselves on street corners, or shouting at strangers. Now there’s a fresh face trying to help those in psychiatric crisis.

He’s a roaming mental health counselor, hired by the Union Gospel Mission and downtown’s business-funded Metropolitan Improvement District.

C4Chaos / Flickr

There are many more homeless children and young adults in King County than previous tallies have found, according to a new count out this month. The count found more than 140 children on the streets, in shelters or in unstable housing, and another 530 or so young adults 25 and under. Volunteers and social service agencies conducted the second annual one-night count in May, targeting homeless youth.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – A count by a volunteers showed the number of homeless people in Bellingham is declining.

Housing advocates say their organizations have had success in a difficult economy by targeting services to the most vulnerable. The Bellingham Herald reports that volunteers counted 500 homeless people during the Jan. 26 "point in time" count, compared to 700 last year.

Homelessness as defined for the count includes living on the street or in a vehicle, an emergency shelter or transitional housing.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

More and more homeless people are joining protesters occupying Seattle’s Westlake Park. The Occupy Wall Street movement has a special attraction for people who sleep on the streets.

When you walk through Westlake Park, in the heart of downtown Seattle’s shopping district, you notice the donated tarps and sleeping bags on hand to keep people warm. And there's a big tent where you can get a cheese sandwich or receive first aid.

If you don’t have a home, it seems like a good place to hang out. 

Courtesy of First United Church

City Council in Vancouver, British Columbia, is debating a strategy to end homelessness within ten years, and the always contentious issue has comparisons to efforts already under way in King County.

Tim Hamilton / Flickr

Advocates for the homeless in Kitsap County say there’s not enough money to provide services – so they’re talking about the possibility of a new tax. 

Tom Paulson / KPLU-Humanosphere

More than a thousand workers at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have moved into their new campus across the street from Seattle Center. Celebrations are planned tonight (Thursday) and this weekend. Foundation leaders say they want to be more visible to the public.

(A public open-house is this Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Advance registration is required, here.)


Crisis centers for the mentally ill are gaining popularity across Washington, as a way to help people and potentially save taxpayers' money.  They’re an alternative to jails and emergency rooms. 

But these short-term treatment centers are also running into hostility. Potential neighbors are unhappy about being next door to a facility where patients arrive by police car and ambulance, in the middle of a mental health or drug crisis.

In central Seattle, an angry backlash of homeowners is threatening to delay the opening of a proposed “Crisis Solutions Center.” The location is on a block near Rainier Avenue and Dearborn, where businesses and stores give way to single-family homes.  

A.K. Mimi Allin

Is there poetry in homelessness? Poet A.K. Mimi Allin is exploring that question while she lives with Seattle's Ten City homeless encampment this winter.

Allin is in the last few weeks of  her three-month experiment.  In December, she joined about 80 people  who make up Tent City's  current digs in the parking lot of Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in northeast Seattle. 

Liam Moriarty/KPLU / KPLU News

The recent icy winds and frigid temperatures have been making life uncomfortable for pretty much everybody. But for folks without a place to call home, the cold snap can make an already-difficult life miserable.

Flickr photo by javacolleen

The Nickelsville homeless encampment will soon occupy a former Seattle fire station in Lake City.  Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the camp could have immediate use the old Fire Station 39, left vacant after a facility was constructed next door.