File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

If you are looking for more evidence of a housing crisis in King County, here it is.

Officials at the King County Housing Authority report a flood of people applying for federal housing assistance.

On Wednesday, after a four year hiatus, the authority once again began accepting applications for the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program, more commonly called Section 8.

This story begins an occasional series about individuals who don't have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities.

Sometimes, the people you'd least expect are those who do the most. People like Tony Simmons, a homeless man in Baltimore who helps others get off the street. Simmons says he does it as much for himself as for anyone else.

Crowds of homeless people often gather on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle near social-service providers.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The ranks of the homeless continue to swell in King County. An overnight count found 3,772 people living on the streets — a 21 percent increase since last January.

Hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the county in the wee hours of Friday morning to take count of the region's rising homeless population.

All Pilgrims Christian Church on Seattle's Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Don Jensen, executive director of Community Lunch, and Greg Turk, pastor of All Pilgrims Christian Church on Seattle's Capitol Hill, about community controversy over the church's plans to expand a meal program for people in need.

Mayor Ed Murray has released new proposals to combat homelessness in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Romi Chiorean (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about his new recommendations to help the homeless population in Seattle and King County.

KUOW/John Ryan photo

Eddy Mahon says the Aloha Inn saved his life.

Each day, thousands of people speed by the run-down old motel on Highway 99 just south of Seattle's Aurora Bridge. It's no longer a motel. Now it's a place where homeless people can stay for up to two years and get help while they try to get back on their feet; there's a long waiting list to get in. Mahon manages the Aloha.

He told his story to KUOW's John Ryan.