The numbers are in from the recent “Point in Time Count” of homeless people back on January 26th.
The count showed the number of people experiencing homelessness is slightly down from last year, a result Sasha Sleiman, the Chelan County Housing Program coordinator, is attributing in part to efforts by local partners working with the unhoused.
On January 26, outreach teams surveyed 121 people experiencing homelessness in Chelan and Douglas counties. Of those, 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.
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 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. That's an increase of 91 people from 2022.
In addition, the Chelan County Jail 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 count but, if exited from treatment, would be unhoused in Chelan or Douglas counties.
Of the 105 people counted as unsheltered, 44 adults and 2 minors live out of doors, in a street, tent, abandoned building, park, etc.; 39 adults and 1 minor live in a vehicle, and 19 adults refused to say where they slept. Fifteen reported living in Chelan, that's 14 adults and one minor; 46 in Wenatchee, 15 in East Wenatchee, four in Leavenworth, and one in Cashmere. 23 were living in unincorporated areas of Chelan or Douglas Counties.
65 people said their last known permanent home was in the two-county area, fifteen of them last lived in Chelan, 20 said Wenatchee, 14 East Wenatchee.
Sasha Sleiman emphasized that it is important to remember the information collected during the Point in Time Count is truly a snapshot in time, that 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.
The number of people surveyed on January 26 was a combination of people who came to the planned outreach events at Chelan Valley HOPE, the YWCA in Wenatchee and the Community Cupboard in Leavenworth as well as people who were approached by outreach teams in Chelan and Douglas counties.