Rebekah Tuno

Understanding the Point-In-Time Homeless Count

Rebekah Tuno, Homeless Program Specialist, No Phone Number Available

Monday, December 2, 2019 at 12:26 p.m.

Understanding the Point-In-Time Homeless Count

Due to a lack of safe affordable housing and increasing housing costs, families struggle to meet their basic needs. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) and the National Governors Association (NGA), almost 57,000 families reside in a place not mean for human habitation such as vehicles, parks, abandon buildings, or streets, with approximately 150,000 families residing in emergency shelters and/or transitional housing over the course of a year.

While families may qualify and receive a housing subsidy, which would enable them to pay no more than 30% of their income to rent. Unfortunately, one in four receive this type of subsidy. Nationally, 6.7 million households pay more than 50% of their income to housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) Out of Reach 2019 report, indicates that in the state of Washington in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment a household must earn an hourly wage of $27.78. As of 2019, the Washington state minimum wage is $12, which makes affording housing, food, and other basic necessities a challenge. At $12 an hour an individual would have to work 75 hours per week to afford a modest one bedroom apartment at fair market rent.

With the increasing burden of housing costs, families frequently double-up by staying with family and friends. This dynamic can cause increased stress that can often result in the family being asked to leave, leading the family experiencing homelessness to seek emergency shelter services hoping to find a long-term housing option.

Rapid Re-housing is the primary housing service used to reconnect families to housing. Rapid Rehousing is a time-limited intervention that provides families with housing search and landlord negotiation assistance, temporary financial assistance and case management services designed to promote housing stabilization and connection to needed supports.

The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is a snapshot census of people experiencing certain categories of homelessness in given community on one night in January. The count includes people who, on the night of the count, are:

  • Sheltered (living in emergency shelters or transitional housing) or
  • Unsheltered (staying out of doors or places not designed for habitation including vehicles, streets, parks and abandoned buildings)

On a single night in Washington State in January 2018:

  • 22,304 households were experiencing homelessness, a 21% increase from 2014
  • Families make up approximately 26% percent of all people experiencing homelessness

In Spokane County, during the 2018 Point-In-Time (PIT) Count, 12% were identified as families experiencing homelessness. In 2019, 1,309 people were counted, and 23% were families which represents an 8% decrease from the 2018 PIT Count.

  • Of those identified as families, 43% were in transitional housing, 51% stayed in an emergency shelter, and 6% were indicated they were unsheltered.
Trends - Families - 2019 PIT Count

*2019 Spokane City/County CoC PIT Count

Of those identified as families in the 2019 PIT Count in Spokane County, most identified as White. Comparatively, families that identified as African American represented 15% of those counted compared to only representing 2% of the overall Spokane County population. Staggering overrepresentations of people of color experiencing homelessness were found amongst the American Indian and Alaska Natives (9% - PIT; 1.80% overall population), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (8% - PIT; 0.60% overall population), and those identifying as Multi-Racial (9% - PIT; 4% overall population). The disparities amongst people of color experiencing family homelessness is indicative of socioeconomic factors and institutionalized systems of power that disproportionately impact communities of color.

Race - Families - 2019 PIT Count

*2019 Spokane City/County CoC PIT Count

Our Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Families Leadership Committee continues to increase partnerships and collaboration, improve landlord relationships, increase affordable housing, increase employment and income, and leverage other community supports to put an end to homelessness among families in Spokane.

Each year in the preparation of the PIT Count, the City operates a donation drive to collect a variety of gently used items to be distributed to those experiencing homelessness by volunteers and outreach workers. For Spokane’s 2020 PIT Count, which will occur from January 23 through January 30, focusing on where people slept on the night of the 23rd, we would like encourage the community to be compassionate to those in need by supporting the numerous donation drives and organizations in our community that benefit our families experiencing a housing crisis. Many organizations provide basic necessities and essential items to households experiencing homelessness. Please reach out to these organizations directly to get involved and assist those in need.

Community Donation Drives

We are setting a goal for the 2020 PIT Count to be able to create and distribute at least 1,309 “care bags”, comprised of a bottle of water, hat, scarf, gloves, hand warmers, soft granola bar, and travel-size hygiene supplies. These bags provide some very basic need items to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. If you would like to help us reach our goal, you can go to our Amazon Wish List to purchase items needed for creating the care bags.

You can also help a family in need of housing by connecting them with Homeless Families Coordinated Assessment (HFCA) at 509.325.5005. HFCA will work with the family to understand what their needs are and connect them with housing and community supports to address barriers with obtaining housing.

Community Resources

Housing Assistance

For assistance getting into housing you may visit Homeless Families Coordinated Assessment at 19 W. Pacific Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509.325.5005
Walk-In hours are M- TH 12:30-5pm

You may also apply for housing assistance at the Spokane Housing Authority
55 W. Mission Ave Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509.328.2953

If you have children under the age of 18 and need immediate shelter, please contact Family Promise Open Doors Shelter at 631 S. Richard Allen Court Spokane, WA 99202 Phone: 509.723.HOME

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

Phone: 24HR Helpline: 509.326.CALL (2255)

Lutheran Community Services - Domestic Violence/Sexual assault
210 W. Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99201

Jonah Project
Phone: 509.655.7886

Counseling Services and Substance Abuse Treatment

Alcoholics Anonymous

Frontier Behavioral Health
107 S Division St, Spokane, WA 99202

First Call for Help: Crisis Support line

Narcotics Anonymous (Eastern Washington)


Planned Parenthood
Two locations:

  • Spokane Health Center
    123 E. Indiana Ave.
    Spokane, WA 99207
  • Spokane Valley Health Center
    12104 E. Main Ave.
    Spokane Valley, WA 99206

Spokane Regional Health District
1101 W College Ave Spokane, WA 99201

Washington Health Plan Finder
Phone: 1-855-923-4633

Legal Assistance

Center for Justice (Low Cost Legal Services)
35 W Main Suite 300 Spokane, WA 99201

Community Court (Healthcare/Insurance, SSI / Disability assistance, Education and job training Clothing, Behavioral Health, Housing, ID cards, Food, Library services, Crime victim assistance/advocacy, Trauma therapy, Veteran programs DSHS assistance, Nutrition education, Payee assistance)
Downtown Library
906 W. Main Ave. Spokane, WA 99201 (Corner of Lincoln St. and Main Ave.)
Community Court is held every Monday starting at 10:30 am

Gonzaga University School of Law (Low cost Legal Assistance)
P.O. Box 3528
721 N. Cincinnati St. Spokane, WA 99220-3528

Northwest Justice Project (Legal assistance/consultation)
1702 W. Broadway Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509.324.9128 or 1.888.201.1019 or 1.888.201.1014 (CLEAR - Client Intake)
Fax: 509.324.0065

Team Child (Legal Aid for youth ages 12 to 18)
1704 W. Broadway Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509.323.1166
Fax: 509.232.3051

Child Care

YWCA – Childcare and Early Childhood Education
930 N. Monroe Street


Employment and Education Resources

YWCA - Women to Work Program
930 North Monroe Street

Career Path Services
10 N. Post Street # 200 Spokane, WA 99201

Fulcrum Institute (RISE Program)
211 W. Augusta Spokane, WA 99225

Job Corps
901 E. 2nd Ave #100 Spokane, WA 99202

WorkSource Spokane
130 S Arthur St, Spokane, WA 99202

Community Colleges of Spokane
501 N. Riverpoint Blvd #203, Spokane, WA 99202

New Leaf Bakery Job Training Program

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