Homelessness is a serious issue in Seattle. The number of homeless people has increased over the past few years. It’s not just the men we see with signs asking for help – women and children make up an increasing number of the homeless.
As homeowners and renters, we are fortunate to have a roof over our heads. Although I am not in position to offer a home to a homeless person or family, there are things I can do:
- Know your community resources – Most Seattle communities have non-profit organizations that can provide assistance with finding housing. In North Seattle, there’s FamilyWorks and Solid Ground. Mary’s Place provides shelter to families experiencing homelessness. King County 2-1-1 provides the most comprehensive information on health and human services available to King County residents. Their Information and Referral Specialists are experts in understanding the eligibility requirements of many human service systems. Keep these resources handy (as well as others in your neighborhood) so that you can share with those who might need help.
- Keep some basic supplies in your car. Socks, bottles of water, and granola bars are great to hand out to the homeless on the street. Many homeless have foot issues because they wear socks over and over (often wet socks too) or don’t wear socks at all.
- You can also check out what the city of Seattle is doing to address homelessness including the location of emergency shelters.
- As you walk by a homeless person, don’t turn away. Stop and say hello. That one interaction might make their day.
- Volunteer – Set up a food drive for a food bank at your place of emeployment. Collect diapers or women’s hygiene products for shelters or food programs. Contact your local organizations to find out what they need.
If you’ve got other ideas on how we can help, let me know.