Count Us In
Each year, the Y participates in Count Us In, the annual count to collect data on the needs of people experiencing homelessness in King County. In King County, volunteers spread out into the community to count the number of people experiencing homelessness. This data collection is required by the federal government, and is reported back to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Count Us In helps the Y stay up to date with the needs of the communities we serve. The Y is the largest provider of housing for homeless young adults in King County, providing housing to over 250 young people on any given night.
This year’s count took place on Thursday, January 25, carrying over into the early morning hours of Friday, January 26. There are two counts: a daytime shelter count, and a visual nighttime count of people sleeping on the streets, and in tents, encampments, and cars. Chris Magat, Case Manager with the YMCA’s housing program, participated in the day count along with several of his colleagues. Chris said: "I really wanted to get the overall scope of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Those numbers can contribute to our efforts in helping young people."
The day count sent Chris and his team to West Seattle. They covered community centers, drop-in centers, fast food restaurants, parks, and other known areas where people experiencing homelessness gather. "My group was assigned a guide who had experienced homelessness and they were our best resource while we were counting. They had a much better idea of the times, days, and schedules of youth experiencing homelessness." All guides received payment for their participation.
Emily Meltzer, Director of Development for Accelerator YMCA, participated in the count for her second year. "This count is extremely important to our work. It provides annual baseline data that helps us understand what the trends are, where the gaps are, and how our services fit into the larger picture."