Kelly Herb is about to spend the winter living out of her car.

Most nights she parks her blue 1994 Cadillac somewhere and piles in the back seat with her dog. During the day Herb can be found at the Wiggly Field Dog Park or in the East County Senior Center library, where she is the volunteer librarian.

“That way we get to sit inside where it’s warm,” she said jokingly. “No, I love being a librarian, I love books.”

Herb said Tyler, who is a Labrador retriever, mastiff and German Shepherd mix, is her main source of heat every night. The two lay close together; he moves when she does. She usually sits upright while she sleeps due to health problems. Boxes of dog treats, personal items, pillows and blankets are kept orderly inside the vehicle.

“I came from nothing — I do the best I can with what I have to work with,” she said.

This year Herb may have an opportunity to spend the cold months in a more secure, less exposed shelter. To do so, Herb will need some extra help. A handful of community members are trying to make that happen.

In the 2017 Snohomish County Point In Time count, about 34 percent of those surveyed had stayed in a car the night before. Herb, who is 72, is almost at the terminus of the age ranges interviewed; the oldest person was 76.

In the report, the agency states the data is supposed to represent overall trends, but is not an exhaustive survey of the region’s homeless. Since 2013, the number of those living unsheltered in the county has grown by 50 percent, and is up 9 percent from 2016.

Herb lives off of about $800 in social security per month. She uses some of that money to pay for the storage unit that holds her grandmother’s solid oak table and down-filled lady’s lounge chair with an ottoman. She has also held onto her dad’s pine chifforobe.

Herb said her name is on many lists for local shelters and affordable housing units. With winter coming, and the temperatures already dipping low, Herb said she is concerned for her survival.

Last year, she found some relief through Beck’s Place, where she goes with Tyler. The nonprofit put the pair up in a motel for the season along with other people living homeless with their pets.

The dog and owner are inseparable. Herb said Tyler has kept her alive. He is her security guard and helps keep her healthy.

Herb suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Her doctor told her she needed to get a dog — a big dog that needed a lot of walking, so Herb would be forced to move. Three times a day, rain or shine, Herb and Tyler can be found at the dog park in Monroe.

“The dog park is really the best thing that’s happened to us,” she said. “We have made such great friends down there.”

That is where she met Bothell resident Mike Elliot. The two have only known each other for a few months now. Elliot said Herb strikes him as genuine.

Herb laughs easily, and talks openly about her life.

“I believe her, and she really needs help,” he said.

Elliot and Herb have discussed her options at length. She has a chance to step out of the situation, but will need a leg up, Elliot said.

Of the many friends she has made in the Sky Valley, one has recently offered to donate her a camper. The Monroe resident has been supplying water at the dog park since at least last spring. He and Herb pair up to make sure the jugs are constantly filled.

The vehicle is in working order. All Herb needs is a little land with an electrical hookup. Elliot said he is desperately searching for a permanent location, and anyone willing to take her in could request a few hundred dollars a month. Herb said she is willing and able to do house or yard work.

“There is just me and my dog,” she said. “All we need is a space to put this camper on and some place to walk around with him (Tyler), and time to go the dog park every once and a while; we won’t give up the dog park.”