New report shows homelessness decreasing in Edmonds

The 2022 final report on the state of homelessness in Edmonds indicates that there are fewer homeless people in the city.

The Homelessness Assessment, conducted by Edmonds-based Koné Consulting, updated the report presented to Edmonds City Council in 2019. Council received the preliminary findings of the 2022 report in March.

One of the areas assessed by the updated assessment was the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent efforts by the City of Edmonds to provide household support through federal American Rescue Plan Act grants. (ARPA).

According to the final report, the number of homeless residents in the area has increased overall, but Edmonds has seen a slight decline, which Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson attributed in a city news release to the grants. which Edmonds could distribute to those in need.

“This report shows that our Department of Social Services and Household Support Grants are making a real difference in reducing homelessness in our city and preventing at-risk Edmonds residents from losing their homes,” said Nelson.

Among the conclusions of the final report:

  • An estimated 8,802 Edmonds residents live at or below the federal poverty line
  • 40% of Edmonds residents are expense-burdened (spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs)
  • Lack of affordable housing is one of the main reasons contributing to becoming and remaining homeless for respondents
  • The minimum number of homeless people in Edmonds is 450
  • Homelessness increases among people over 65
  • 117 students are homeless and attending school (K-12) in Edmonds

Data for the report was collected from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Snohomish County Annual Count, 2-1-1 Call Data, the Snohomish County Housing Authority, the ‘Snohomish County Economic Alliance. Data from the McKinney-Vento program were also used. (Under the federal McKinney-Vento law, homeless students have the right to attend either their local school or the school they were enrolled in when last permanently housed. They also have the right to be transported to home school.) In addition, the report included an online survey of 43 stakeholder organizations.

The report includes findings relating to Edmonds specifically as well as how Edmonds compares to regional trends. Research on successful programs across the United States was also conducted, and the report pointed to possible sources of funding to address homelessness. The report concluded with a list of recommendations, with preventing homelessness being a top priority.

“The Koné report recommends that we continue some of our most successful programs,” added Shannon Burley, deputy director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, Culture and Human Services. “Using our ARPA funding to provide $3 million in Household Support Grants and working with agencies to provide housing assistance to cost-overloaded Edmonds residents are two programs that are having a positive impact and keeping people in a lodging.

“Working with the vounty and other local towns to find emergency housing solutions will also continue to be a priority for our department,” Burley continued.

Edmonds City Council approved the creation of the city’s human services program as part of the 2020 city budget. The report recommends expanding the effort, citing data that shows programs and initiatives have an impact on reducing the number of homeless people in Edmonds.

You can view both the 2019 assessment and the 2022 update at www.edmondswa.gov/government/departments/human_services/homelessness_study

James C. Tibbs