A sad reality that many of us overlook is the rising number of homeless people in the Emerald City. Even though the city is desperately trying to combat this issue, first with a 10-year plan to end homelessness started in 2005, and now with newly implemented government programs, there has still been a rise of the number of the homeless in Seattle over the previous years.
Does Seattle Have a Homeless Problem?
Living in Downtown Seattle, you probably noticed the number of people without a home roaming around King County. Unfortunately, this problem has been years in the making, rooted in racial inequality, economic disparities, mental health issues, rising housing costs, and addiction; the city’s crisis keeps reaching a new high every year.
The Rising Homeless Population in Seattle
There are many reasons for the increasing number of those without shelter. For starters, the city’s economic growth has impacted the real estate market, and many are just unable to afford living costs, as the availability of job opportunities isn’t widely spread. Lack of affordable housing is a big issue. Many are moving to smaller and more affordable homes, but those who can’t afford even that have to turn to the streets.
Additionally, the availability of treatment for mental health as well as drug abuse is limited. Being that drug overdose is the leading cause of death among the homeless makes this problem even more mortifying. Racial discrimination is also one factor, as people experiencing homelessness are disproportionately people of color. All of these factors have added to the crisis our county experiences daily.
Dealing with the COVID Crisis
Now, with the global pandemic and with overflowing housing capacities in shelters, many wander the streets looking for viable Seattle homeless camps. With the closing of facilities such as libraries and cafes, the government has, unfortunately, limited the availability of clean water and toilets to those in need.
Additionally, a significant danger is not social distancing. Many expressed frustration and fear about staying in shelters, as they feel much safer isolated in camp tents. The city’s sweeps of encampments also add to injury as many have lost their possessions during the COVID pandemic. The situation has been quite ungratifying.
Luckily, to control the spread of the COVID virus within the homeless community, local authorities have invested in building tiny-house villages for those in need. These provide not only shelter, but necessary utilities as well. The COVID situation might be the wakeup call for the community to take the homelessness issue more seriously.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the tiny-house villages, this video will give you insight.
Resources for the Homeless
Many shelters across the town offer medical treatments, food, clothing, and other necessities for those roaming the streets. Additionally, many charities such as Goodwill and Salvation Army offer youth help programs, medical aid, and employment. However, this is not nearly enough.
With numbers skyrocketing, the government is investing in two significant projects, focusing on preventing homelessness and emergency response.
In the past few years, our community has been trying to increase the number of living options available to those in need by expanding existing facilities. From tiny-house villages to the Rental Housing Assistance Pilot Program – for those on the verge of losing their homes, the government is trying to prevent a further rise of homelessness across Seattle.
How Local Authorities Deal with Homelessness
The City opened 516 new safer spaces in 2018 and spent around $78M on combating the crisis. Last year, the amount invested in creating the Assistance Pilot Program was approximately $63M. Overall, the government is trying to finance affordable house building and increase shelter capacities to deal with this issue.
The Mayor’s Take on the Homelessness Issue
Mayor Durkan plans to increase the shelter capacities by 25% to provide living conditions for 500 additional individuals. Her plan also involves adding day and night hygiene centers that cater to the basic needs of those who can’t afford proper hygiene.
The navigation team is also an essential addition, as it helps with finding appropriate sheltering on the spot and dealing with hazardous situations. The Human Services Department has also partnered with many local organizations to create and improve bridge houses and shelter units. As mentioned, the government has recently invested in creating city-permitted small villages to replace homeless camps in Seattle, due to COVID.
How Can You Help Your Homeless Neighbors
If you want to help those in need, there are many ways you can do it even without making enormous money donations. First of all, volunteering is always a great option. From shelters to public kitchens and charities, there are many places you can apply to help out those that are less fortunate.
Another idea would be to donate, which is especially great if you’re planning on moving to another home soon. For example, you can donate furniture in Seattle or give away old clothes, non-perishable food, or books. In fact, food is one of the items movers won’t move, so donating it will help get it off your hands. These organizations are profit free, and the money is used for providing services to those in need. But aside from helping others, you’ll also do a good deed for yourself. Reducing the amount of stuff you need your local Seattle movers to handle will make your moving expenses checklist and your moving to-do list much shorter.
Hiring a Seattle Moving Company
If you’re one of the lucky ones who have a roof over their head, and you want to move to another neighborhood in the Emerald City, our Seattle moving company can offer you the best moving services. Why experience moving stress when you can contact us, and we’ll make your relocation go as smoothly as possible. If you hate dealing with boxes and tape, we also offer packing services! So sit back and let Seattle Professional Movers do everything for you.