Questions / Answers
The We Are In Campaign:
What is We Are In?
We Are In is a diverse group of partners who support regional, common-sense solutions to ending homelessness in King County. We Are In believes that a problem of this complexity and scale requires a new approach. As a clear first step, we need to coordinate our existing response systems and create a single, clear system where we maximize resources and hold elected leaders accountable. Together, we are ready to take meaningful action on homelessness and make sure that each of us has a place to call home.
Who funds and supports We Are In?
We Are In is an education and awareness project of Campion Advocacy Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Raikes Foundation, and Ballmer Group, with support by Microsoft Philanthropies, Vulcan, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of King County. Partners who have signed onto We Are In’s platforms include: people with personal experience with homelessness, service providers and nonprofits, voices from suburban cities across King County, as well as local businesses and philanthropists looking to support regional solutions to homelessness. You can view our full list of partners here.
How is We Are In related to local legislation and policy to end homelessness?
We Are In is not directly related to the regional authority or long-term action plan. While We Are In does advocate for common sense, coordinated regional solutions to ending homelessness, it does not do direct lobbying and is not directed by any elected official or council member.
📄 We Are In 101
For more information about the We Are In effort, including core platforms, project funders and supporters, and how to engage, see here.
Getting / Providing Help:
How can I help support people experiencing homelessness?
As a first step, join us to show your support for sensible, regional solutions to homelessness in King County. Each of us can also play a role in our communities by volunteering with a local service provider or teaming up with friends, colleagues, and family to organize drives for much needed supplies like basic hygiene products, socks, and warm weather clothing. If you need a place to start, The United Way of King County helps connect people with volunteer opportunities.
How can people experiencing homelessness access shelter or services?
The best starting place for those in need in King County is 2-1-1. Visit their website or dial 2-1-1 (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm) to to find community services in your area including:
- Food, shelter, and housing
- Family support programs
- Health care
- Rent/utility assistance
- Legal and financial assistance
- Governmental assistance programs
You can also visit the Real Change Emerald City Resource Guide for a searchable database of the resources and services listed above.
For Housing and Health Services:
- Call 2-1-1 or 800-621-4636 to check shelter availability
- The Urban Rest Stop provides a clean, safe and welcoming facility where individuals and families experiencing homelessness can come and use restrooms, laundry facilities and shower. All services are provided at no cost to patrons.
- Healthcare for the Homeless Network (HCHN) provides health care services to people experiencing homelessness in King County and leadership to help change the conditions that deprive our neighbors of home and health.
For Crisis Services:
- Crisis Connections provides telephone-based crisis intervention, information and referral services, including:
- The WA Recovery Helpline offers an anonymous, confidential 24-hour help-line for Washington State residents experiencing substance use disorders, gambling problems, and/or mental health challenges. They can also connect callers with local treatment resources and community services. 866-789-1511 (24/7)
- Teen Link is a confidential and anonymous help-line for teens. Trained teen volunteers are available to talk about any issue of concern. No issue is too big or too small! 866-833-6546 (Monday-Sunday, 6pm-10pm)
- The 24-hour Crisis Line provides immediate help to individuals, families, and friends of people in emotional crisis. They can help determine if you or your loved one needs professional consultation and can link you to the appropriate services. They are the primary source for linking Seattle-King County residents to emergency mental health services. 206-461-3222 (24/7)
Homelessness in King County:
What causes homelessness?
The causes of homelessness are complex and reflect a diverse range of personal circumstances. Typically, however, homelessness is caused by a lack of affordable housing and experiences that directly impact a person’s ability to maintain housing. Approximately 24% of Count Us In Survey respondents cited the loss of a job as the primary reason they became homeless. King County also suffers from a lack of affordable housing. According to a recent McKinsey report, fair market rent in the county has risen by more than 12 percent a year on average. At the same time, housing that’s affordable for households earning 50 percent or less of the area median income have almost halved.
How many people are experiencing homelessness in King County?
All Home King County’s 2019 “Count Us In” survey found 11,199 people are experiencing homelessness across the county. 47% of this population was unsheltered, living on the street, or in parks, tents, vehicles, or other places not meant for human habitation. Because the count is taken on a single night by volunteers, most people agree that it is an undercount and the number of people living unsheltered may be higher.
Is it true that most people experiencing homelessness in King County aren’t originally from here, but are drawn in because of services?
No. According to All Home King County’s 2019 “Count Us In” survey, approximately 84% of respondents reported living in Seattle/King County immediately prior to loss of housing. Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents indicated they were born in King County or had lived in King County for ten years or more.
Is it true that homelessness is only a problem in Seattle?
No. Homelessness is an issue that affects communities across King County. Although 68% of the county’s unsheltered population identified during the 2019 one-time street count resided in Seattle, 21% resided in Southwest King County in areas like Auburn, Federal Way, and Renton.
Will housing for people experiencing homelessness negatively impact my neighborhood or the surrounding property values?
An NYU study found the opposite–new and permanent supportive housing developments tend to correlate with increasing property values in surrounding neighborhoods. Across King County, housing prices over the last few years have leveled out and certain areas have seen continual increases, even as homelessness continues to impact our communities.