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Washington State News

Number of homeless tent encampments in Seattle dropped 13% in second half of 2022

Spencer Pauley | The Center Square

Seattle has seen a 13% drop in the number of tents throughout the city, according to the most recent data from One Seattle Homelessness Action Plan.

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The latest data from December 2022 shows there were 712 verified tents in Seattle. That is a 13% drop from 814 documented in June.

The city’s homelessness action plan also surpassed its goal of identifying 2,000 units of shelter and supportive housing by the end of 2022. The city counted a total of 2,065 units of housing for homeless Seattleites.

However, RV encampment numbers continue to fluctuate in each One Seattle Homelessness Action Plan update. Last month’s statistics revealed there were 449 RV encampments in Seattle. There were 426 RV encampments in June and 273 in September.

“Since the launch of the dashboard in May, the number of RVs counted in the quarterly snapshots has fluctuated due to improvements and refinements in RV data collection and documentation in the field,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office said in a statement

The office added that it expects the RV counts will become more accurate and consistent as 2023 progresses. Harrell’s office previously said that its tent and RV counts represent roughly 75% of all encampments throughout the city.

The South Downtown area had the most verified tents and RVs amongst all Seattle districts with 171, according to the action plan’s statistics.

The City of Seattle is spending $153.7 million on homelessness response this year. The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is allocated the biggest portion with $96.9 million in 2023. 

Seattle’s dedicated spending on solutions to homelessness comes with urgency in 2023. Homeless Seattleites are being exposed to fentanyl at an unprecedented rate as the death toll was at its highest in 2022. Last year saw 310 deaths of homeless persons in King County. That was 65% more deaths than in 2021 and over 100 more deaths than in 2018, which had set the bar at 195 fatalities, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Out of the 310 deaths recorded, 238 (77%) were deemed accidental, which includes cases of drug overdose.

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