Point in Time Count – Homelessness in Bremerton

Every January, volunteers in Kitsap County conduct a one-day survey called the Point-In-Time (PIT) Count to glean data on individuals experiencing homelessness. 

For several years, Bremerton Foodline has been a spot for such PIT counts. Several volunteers set up in our lobby and survey clients as they come in for service. Conducting such surveys helps us understand the impact on homeless folks and gives us data to better research options for solving issues surrounding homelessness.

Unsheltered is defined as living outside in places not meant for human habitation; this includes tents, a vehicle, an RV/boat lacking amenities, and the street. Sheltered individuals either live in an emergency shelter or transitional housing. Remember that these numbers are not the full scope of homeless individuals, and there are many other folks who we do not hear from.

Last year, 2023, the PIT Count indicated 245 unsheltered individuals. 46% of unsheltered households who responded said that their cause of homelessness, while 43% said it was due to job loss or an inability to work. Over a quarter of households said eviction or loss of housing, family conflict, and substance use were also factors [1].

Before 2023, the highest count of unsheltered folks was in 2020 with 199 individuals. It is hard to glean some data from March 2020 – 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, several shelters increased their capacity and did not take an unsheltered count in 2021 [2].

We can understand from this data that we have a crisis in our county, especially in our city of Bremerton. With the average price of rent per unit having increased 44% since September 2017 and wages not keeping up, it is no wonder that there is a housing crisis in our community [3].

We also know that homelessness disproportionately affects those who are marginalized, like BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, survivors of domestic violence, and immigrants. These groups tend to have fewer opportunities for jobs and housing [4, 5].

So, what can we do to alleviate the crisis?

Several steps have been taken by lawmakers, citizens, and the community to work towards solutions. The Bremerton City Council recently voted to go with a hybrid solution of congregate and pallet shelters, an idea brought forward by Bremerton Housing Authority, Kitsap Mental Health Services, Kitsap Community Resources, and St. Vincent de Paul [6].

It takes an entire community to make these changes and participation from people of all sides. There are many ways to help: by participating in council meetings, donating to organizations actively working to improve our community, and volunteering. You can be a part of the change that makes Bremerton a better place to live.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness, please look through the resources below and remember that you are not alone.

Citations

[1] 2023 Kitsap County Point in Time Count Overview – Kitsap County Government
[2] 2022 Kitsap County Point in Time Count Overview – Kitsap County Government
[3] Homelessness in Kitsap County – Countywide 2022 – Kitsap County Government
[4] Homelessness and Racial Disparities – National Alliance to End Homelessness
[5] Domestic Violence and Homelessness: Statistics – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 
[6] “Option for shelter and pallet homes passed by Bremerton’s council, nixing Oyster Bay plan” – Kitsap Sun

Further Reading

Resources

Bremerton Housing Authority
Kitsap Community Resources
Kitsap Housing and Homelessness Coalition – Free Meal Guide, Resource Guide
Kitsap Mental Health Services

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