The Committee to End Homelessness rents a gong every year and has people volunteer for stints ringing it once for every unhoused person found in King County during the annual count on January 23rd. I stopped by for a few minutes and was able to take a few whacks.
As you can see from the sign held up in the background there were 3,772 “unsheltered” people in King County in the one-night count done earlier in the month. This is a subset of the “homeless,” as many of the larger group can find a shelter spot on any particular night. Unemployment in Bellevue has recently dropped into the “full-employment” range, but the count found 134 unsheltered people on the Eastside, amidst our cornucopia of plenty.
I chose to hit the gong 19 times to commemorate the 191 children in the Bellevue School District who were homeless in 2012-13 school year. Lake Washington had 247 the same year. It’s hard to imagine these kids making much progress in school while worried about where they are going to sleep that night.