LGBTQ and black young people disproportionately homeless as numbers rise in King County

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This year’s One Night Count of homeless youth and young adults in King County zip codes

The Central Area has one of the highest concentrations of homeless youth and young adults in King County, a population that is a fifth LGBTQ and a third African American, according to results from a survey released this week.

The county’s annual One Night Count found a total of 824 people between the ages of 12-25 were homeless on Wednesday, January 21st. That’s up from the 779 youths and young adults that were counted in 2014 and included a 21% jump in the overall homeless population.

Building a LGBTQ youth homeless shelter on Capitol Hill was on of the most applauded suggestions discussed at a recent Capitol Hill community forum on ways to stop LGBTQ hate crimes. City Council member Kshama Sawant said she would do everything in her power to get it into next year’s budget. Mayor Ed Murray will announce details of a task force this week to address LGBTQ hate crime. It’s not clear at this point if planning for a shelter will be part of the anti-hate crime plan.

In the 98122 zip code (Pike/Pine, Central District, Seattle University) there were 28 youths and young adults counted as homeless. The highest homeless youth population was found in the 98118 zip code (Rainier Valley, Columbia City) with a total of 52 counted. About 1% identified as transgender or gender queer.

Following the count, county officials and partner organizations conducted 303 deeper surveys to find out more about the makeup of homeless population. In that survey, 22% identified as LGBTQ and over one-third identified as African American.

Among those counted this year, 16% were found to be staying outdoors. The rest were in shelters, cars, or staying in non-permenant locations.

“The most important thing now is that we make this data a call to action to assist the young people who need support,” said Mark Putnam, director of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County.

Here are some other notable findings from the survey:

  • 81 people counted were last housed outside Washington state, and 40 were last housed in the state but outside King County.
  • Almost half of those polled in the survey had been in youth detention or jail.
    Nearly a quarter of those surveyed had been through foster care.
  • 39 females were pregnant or parenting at the time of the survey
  • 119 people were currently enrolled in school at the time of the survey, a 9% jump from last year.

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10 thoughts on “LGBTQ and black young people disproportionately homeless as numbers rise in King County

  1. I didn’t realize that the “One Night Count” included those staying in shelters, cars, or staying in “non-permanent locations” (which I guess means couch-surfing). Only 16% were actually sleeping outdoors.

  2. While the LGBTQ homeless issue on Capitol Hill is getting all the attention, the needs are even greater for African American youth. Shelters are helpful, but more foster care and keeping the kids in school should be the focus. Capitol Hill has a very adult oriented night life that is not suitable for teens.

  3. I’m sorry but all these “homeless” people need to be arrested and sent to prison. They are not homeless because of their situations but because they want to be. Get rid of this scourge on the earth.

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  5. Is some of this refugee population growth from rural Washington or other hostile/violent/increasingly harsher weather (climate change) locations in the US?

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