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Seattle aims to cut homelessness in half within next year

(iStock Photo)

Seattle spending $34 million to find permanent housing for 7,500 people in 2018.

UBC professor says Seattle goal to reduce homelessness "ambitious."

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Seattle is planning to spend $34 million to cut the city’s number of homeless people in half by the end of next year.

The money is to help increase the number of people getting into stable housing.

The city projects more than 3,000 will find permanent housing this year and it wants to up that to 7,500 in 2018, an 145 per cent increase.

“It does seem very ambitious to be doing this,” said Dr. Penny Gurstein, the director of the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning. “I think they would need to have social housing, more likely supportive housing, the homeless could be going into and then other kinds of housing, affordable or social housing that they could be moving into after.”

Achieving the goal is predicated on other factors, according to Gurstein, such as the number of people who are “situationally homeless,” such as those on the verge on homelessness, or living with mental illness and would need some sort of supportive housing.

In a 2015 one night count, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness found there were 10,047 people living on the streets, including people in overnight shelters and transitional housing programs.