Submitted by San Juan County
The 2023 San Juan County “Point-In Time” (PIT) Homeless Count identified 148 people who have no stable place to live, nearly matching the 2022 count of 146.
Of the 148 people identified as having no stable place to live, 51 people were living out of doors, in vehicles, in abandoned buildings, or in an RV or boat that lacked one of the following: drinking water, a restroom, heat, the ability to cook food, or the ability to bathe.
The remaining 97 were at risk of homelessness. These families reside in temporary, unstable living arrangements with family and/or friends, or live in substandard housing. The 2022 count found 58 homeless and 97 at risk of homelessness. In 2020, the count found 66 people homeless and 67 at risk of homelessness. Due to COVID-19 concerns, no Point in Time Count was held in Washington in 2021.
The one-night PIT Count is by definition variable, and in San Juan County, can fluctuate greatly from year to year. San Juan County has prioritized consistency in its PIT methodology as part of the County’s Five-Year Homeless Plan. The 2023 PIT year-over-year change of one % from 2022 continues the trend of consistency and represents the smallest year-over-year change in the previous decade.
This year’s count was extremely similar to the 2019, 2020 and 2022 Count and the County saw the number of individuals considered homeless (rather than at-risk of homelessness) decline compared to 2022 and 2020.
The first San Juan County count, conducted in 2005 counted 21 homeless or at risk of homelessness. The numbers have varied with an overall upward trend since then. The state-mandated count was conducted on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. The count was initiated by the State of Washington in 2005, and the Washington State Department of Commerce oversees the count statewide.
Count organizers and volunteers worked with local family resource centers, food banks, churches, healthcare providers, senior centers, libraries, the sheriff’s office, schools and pre-schools and many other community support service providers to conduct the count. San Juan County Housing Program Coordinator Ryan Page extends to all the many volunteers involved in the count his sincerest thanks.
About San Juan County’s Department of Health and Community Services
San Juan County’s Department of Health and Community Services is responsible for community and environmental health, mental health and substance abuse programs, senior services, affordable housing projects, and more. The department has staff and offices on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Islands. For more information about San Juan County’s Department of Health and Community Services, visit www.sanjuanco.com/1777/Health-Community-Services.