Point in Time Count records decrease in homelessness for one-day event

(Photo by Scott Johnson/Wenatchee Rescue Mission. Outreach teams surveyed Chelan and Douglas counties on Jan. 26, interviewing or observing people living in unsheltered situations, including tents or outdoor areas not meant for habitation. The photo was taken during the Point in Time event of such an area in Malaga.)


The recent Point in Time Count showed the number of people experiencing homelessness on the one-day event is slightly down from last year, a result the Chelan County Housing Program coordinator is attributing in part to efforts by local partners working with the unhoused.

On Jan.26, outreach teams surveyed 121 people experiencing homelessness in Chelan and Douglas counties. Of the 121 people interviewed or observed, 105 people were unsheltered, meaning they were living out of doors or in a vehicle or RV, an abandoned building, or a tent or other outdoor area not meant for habitation. This is down from 123 unsheltered people counted last year.

“I am really proud of the work everyone involved in the event and its planning put in,” said Sasha Sleiman, Chelan County Housing Program coordinator. “This year’s count is truly a reflection of the dedication over the last year shown by the staff at all our local non-profits who work with the unhoused. They have developed relationships with people, they know where those folks spend their time and they have built trust with people experiencing homelessness over time. These relationships and building of trust are what allow us to get reliable information and data.”

While the results of the event show a decrease in the number of people living unsheltered in the area, they also show an increase over last year in the number of people living in shelters or temporary housing.

Also recorded on Jan. 26 were 368 people staying in emergency shelters, including the city of Wenatchee’s RV Safe Parks, transitional housing programs or in a hotel through an emergency hotel/motel voucher program. This is an increase of 91 people, or a total of 275 in 2022. Shelter data is obtained through the statewide database programs used to track client information, not from the surveys conducted during the PIT outreach and event.

In addition, the Chelan County Regional Justice Center reported 36 people – 30 men and six women – in jail at the time of the count who would, if released that day, describe themselves as homeless. Similarly, the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Wenatchee reported five people who were in its inpatient treatment program the night of the PIT Count but, if exited from treatment, would be unhoused in Chelan or Douglas counties.

More details of the information gathered at the event include:

Of the 105 people counted as unsheltered, they reported living:

44 adults and 2 minors live out of doors (street, tent, abandoned building, park, etc.)
39 adults and 1 minor live in a vehicle (not in a city Safe Park)
19 adults refused to say where they slept

The locations where the 105 unsheltered people indicated they were sleeping on the night of the PIT count were:

Wenatchee: 46 (44 adults and 2 minors)
East Wenatchee: 15
Chelan: 15 (14 adults and 1 minor)
Leavenworth: 4
Cashmere: 1
Unincorporated Chelan Co: 15
Unincorporated Douglas Co: 8
Refused to answer: 1

Surveyors also asked where a person’s last permanent residence was. Ninety-four of the 105 unsheltered people answered the question:

6 people said their last known permanent home was from out of state.
23 people said their last known permanent home was from out of the two-county area (but from other locations in Washington).
65 people said their last known permanent home was from a city/town in Chelan or Douglas counties:

Wenatchee: 20
Chelan: 15
East Wenatchee: 14
Leavenworth: 5
Cashmere, Entiat, Dryden: 2 (each)
Peshastin, Waterville, Bridgeport, Malaga: 1 (each)


Sleiman emphasized that it is important to remember the information collected during the Point in Time Count is truly a snapshot in time.

“It is capturing people who are unsheltered or staying in an emergency or temporary housing situations on this day, at this point in time,” she said. “There are others who are hard to find because they are staying with friends and family or housed for the time being, even if that housing isn’t stable. This means we have far more people in our community who can experience homelessness at any moment after the count is complete who won’t be captured, including people in jail, hospitals, an inpatient facility or living in other programs that are not considered long-term or stable.”

The number of people surveyed on Jan. 26 was a combination of people who came to the planned outreach events at the YWCA in Wenatchee, Chelan Valley HOPE in Chelan and the Community Cupboard in Leavenworth as well as people who were approached by outreach teams in Chelan and Douglas counties. Surveys conducted by outreach teams aimed to not only connect people with resources and services but also to collect a variety of demographic information, including how long someone has been without a permanent home, where they reside, where they are from, and whether or not they had been denied access to a shelter or would go to a shelter if available. Demographic questions included age, race, gender, veteran status, children under 18 in the household and disability status.


Point in Time Community Partners:

Action Health Partners Aging and Adult Care
Café Catholic Charities
Chelan County Regional Justice Center Chelan County Veteran's Service Office
Chelan Douglas Community Action Council Chelan Douglas Volunteer Attorney Services
Chelan Valley HOPE City of East Wenatchee
City of Wenatchee Columbia Legal Services
Community Action Council Douglas County
HopeSource Lighthouse Ministries
Molina Healthcare People's Foundation
SAGE Salvation Army
The Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment Upper Valley MEND
Veteran's Affairs Wenatchee Rescue Mission
Women's Resource Center YWCA



Last Updated: 02/28/2023 11:18 AM

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