Homelessness Decreasing in Washington State - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Homelessness Decreasing in Washington State

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OLYMPIA, WA - The Washington state Department of Commerce says the number of homeless people statewide has decreased. 

The Commerce Department says local homeless service providers and volunteers across the state counted 17,775 people living unsheltered, in emergency shelters or in transitional housing.

Of those, 5,043 were unsheltered - which is an 8% decrease since 2012, and a 15% decrease from 2006. There were 133 unsheltered families with children, which is a 28% decrease since 2012, and a 73% decrease from 2006.

"We are moving in the right direction to reduce homelessness across the state," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "These numbers illustrate the effectiveness of programs like Housing and Essential Needs, the Consolidated Homeless Grant, and other local and federal programs. However, there is still work to be done to help people living on the streets, in the woods, in cars, and in shelters."

The Commerce Department says the reduction in homelessness can be attributed to an increase in homelessness programs. These include programs like Housing and Essential Needs and the Consolidated Homeless Grant - which both started in 2012 - and other local, state and federal homelessness programs. These programs address homelessness by providing resources to help people out of homelessness and into their own permanent housing with temporary rental assistance.