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Former NWCPHP Director Jim Gale Participates in One Night Count

Former NWCPHP Director and founding member Jim Gale joined Community Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) students and faculty for King County’s One Night Count in late January.

Students and faculty volunteered for King County's annual count of homeless, which saw a 14 percent increase in people on the streets over 2013.

February 11, 2014

Former NWCPHP Director and founding member Jim Gale, MD, MS joined Community Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) students and faculty for King County’s One Night Count in late January.

For One Night Count, groups of volunteers go to the streets to count men, women, and children who are found unhoused between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. during the fourth Thursday of January. The One Night Count has been organized in King County since 1980, making it one of the nation’s best-established point-in-time counts of homeless people.

Gale joined COPHP students Kyle Davidson, April Wilson, Elliot Swanson, Lina Walkinshaw, Lena Nachand and faculty member Amy Hagopian, PhD, MHA to systematically comb through a designated neighborhood zone to count homeless people.

“I believe it is important to document the number of homeless people in our community, and to do it consistently over time,” Gale said. “That way, we can see the effects of our policy interventions to reduce homelessness.”

Collectively, the One Night teams counted 3,117 men, women, and children on the streets in select areas of King County in 2014, a 14 percent increase over 2013. See the count summary here.

Hagopian said this rise in homelessness “painfully underscores the urgent unmet need for housing in one of the richest cities in America. People were sleeping in doorways, on sidewalks, under bridges, in their cars, on public buses, and in temporary structures and makeshift campsites.”

This was the first time Gale participated in One Night Count. “I recommend everyone in the UW School of Public Health participate at least once,” he said. “It is moving, and it links public health practitioners in a unique way to a part of the population we are serving.”

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