The Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) estimates that more than 8,000 people are homeless on any given night in King County. Three and a half million people experience homelessness each year in the U.S.; of those, 1.6 million are children.
Crisis Clinic is a leader in helping people find and keep housing. We do this by connecting people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, with the resources they need to find and keep a roof over their head.
There are many organizations working together to end homelessness in King County. Learn more about community efforts to end homelessness and how you can help.
If you are looking for low-cost or market rate housing in the greater Puget Sound area, there is a new website, www.HousingSearchNW.org, that provides information on many available units. Landlords voluntarily list their vacant units with this website.
There are five types of shelters in King County:
- Single Women/Men
- Domestic Violence
King County has a new process for registering families seeking shelter or housing so they do not have to visit multiple agencies. There is now a consolidated wait list and housing/shelter providers have agreed to contact families based on their position on the list and the suitability of the available unit to the families’ needs. The new program is Family Housing Connection. Program enrollment is done by calling King County 2-1-1, which does a brief screening and sets an appointment for the family to have an in-person assessment with a Family Housing Connection assessor and to be placed on the wait list. This is the only way onto the wait list.
Most family shelters provide a separate room or apartment unit for the family, whether it is a motel voucher or a room in a house or old-hotel. These units come furnished. The length of stay at most family shelters is anywhere from several weeks to two or three months. Support services are often provided including, but not limited to, case management, nearby food banks, housing counselors and support groups.
These shelters serve single adults, age 18 and over. An intake interview is required and most are done on a daily basis, although there are usually waiting lists of approximately two weeks.
Most of these shelters are dorm style, with separate facilities or rooms for male and female clients (e.g., Compass Center). Length of stay can vary from one night (e.g., Operation Nightwatch) to three months (e.g., Sacred Heart) to an indefinite period of time (e.g., Downtown Emergency Service Center).
There are no shelters that will house couples; however, Aloha Inn, a transitional housing program, will take couples. For more information on Aloha Inn, go to 211 Community Resources Online and enter Aloha Inn under “agency name.”
If Aloha Inn is not an option, couples can find two single-adult shelters near each other in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. The intake processes would be the same as for the single adult shelters.
Youth shelters are generally for adolescents, age 12-17, although some shelters may accept youth as young as 10 or as old as 20. A young person should call a shelter directly to apply. Some shelters accept self-referrals, while others require an agency referral. Some shelters are run out of church basements, while others utilize private foster homes or group homes.
According to law (The Becca Bill), many shelters must report that the young person is staying in their shelter. There are separate programs for teen parents as most general youth shelters will not accept teen parents.
Domestic violence shelters are for women, with or without children, who are fleeing from an emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive relationship with an intimate partner. Domestic violence shelters have a strict confidentiality policy regarding their location.
For more information on emergency shelter in King County, go to 211 Community Resources Online and search “shelter” in the topic section, or call King County 2-1-1.