Seattle Foundation Blog

Count Us In: My Experience

Director of marketing Babs Pinette shares her experience volunteering at All Home's Count Us In, tallying the number of people experiencing homelessness in the county.


February 03, 2017

By Babs Pinette, Director, Marketing

 3,772 counted in 2015. 4,505 counted in 2016. What will the number be this year?

Early last Friday morning, a group of volunteers, including me, fanned out across the county to count the number of men, women and children who are homeless and sleeping outdoors. It was part of "Count Us In," run this year by All Home. My team worked with a guide, who is currently experiencing homelessness, to help us navigate the alleyways and underpasses. As we walked through one downtown park, our guide noted that it was too well manicured for any homeless individuals to be living there. She was right. At one point she stopped me and pointed, "There is someone." I looked, but all I saw was a small cardboard box. She told me to look again. My heart broke as I realized that there was a person sleeping inside the box. My heart continued to break as we counted people living in doorways, in parking lots and beneath highways. 1,2,3,4,5…

The number of people experiencing homelessness in our region continues to increase. On a typical night in King County, nearly 11,000 men, women and children stay in homeless shelters or sleep outside because they have no other options. Evidence shows that placing individuals or families in housing first, before addressing any other issue, is the most effective and cost-efficient means of reducing homelessness.

Homelessness is a priority of Seattle Foundation, and our team has deep knowledge about this issue. As one of the eight elements within our healthy community framework, Basic Needs is comprised of three strategies:

1) To address and positively impact homelessness
2) Build more affordable housing
3) Alleviate hunger

Now, more than ever, our community has a responsibility to ensure our residents' basic needs for shelter are met.

Organizations across Greater Seattle are working to prevent homelessness, increase affordable housing options and provide people in need access to food and basic supports. To learn more about our work with these committed organizations visit our basic needs page.





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