Courtesy of the Low Income Housing Institute


One of the many challenges of being homeless is staying clean and having fresh clothes. An organization called the Low Income Housing Institute has two urban rest stops in Seattle, where people living on the streets or in their cars can take a shower and clean their clothes free of charge. One is downtown; the other is in the University District.

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Several advocacy groups are warning city officials throughout Washington to review their treatment of homeless people. The groups say bans against sleeping outside are unconstitutional if a person has no place to call home. 

The warning went out to Washington city attorneys, prosecutors and police agencies. It asks them to take a closer look at local laws that make it a crime to sleep or camp in public places.

One third of homeless people in King County live out of their cars.  People with large vehicles like RVs and even buses tend to cluster in industrial areas -- until they’re asked to move on. 

Jennifer Smith lives in her RV with her 15-month-old daughter, Willow. “Its basically got a bus back end and a truck front end,” Smith said.

Her vehicle has been parked in this spot in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle for three weeks, but she’s lived in the area along North Northlake Way since April. She was ticketed once and received several warnings. Legally a car can’t be parked in the same spot for more than 72 hours in Seattle.

But neighbors say some 15 RV’s have been parked along this stretch of Lake Union and they don’t seem to budge. Until a recent notice.

Seattle's Union Gospel Mission

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission is getting into the fashion merchandising business with the launch of a clothing line called OLU, or Others Like Us.

The line will include T-shirts, a hoodie, a baseball cap and a beanie featuring a logo that looks like a face. One T-shirt design will also feature a photo of a homeless person.

Friends of Youth Facebook page

Three agencies serving the homeless in King County have received a $450,000 grant from several Seattle foundations. The money will help continue outreach services for runaway and homeless youth.  

Friends of Youth, an agency that serves teens in East King County and one of the grant recipients, will use the grant to support its mobile van that operates at skate parks and malls.

Paula Wissel

One Seattle man says he’s on a quest to expose why the Seattle Center blocked off use of power outlets in public spaces, and he is arguing his case before the Washington state Appeals Court today.

In September of 2012, Howard Gale noticed Seattle Center staff putting covers and padlocks on all of the electrical outlets, not long after the center had been remodeled and the outlets had been installed. 

Paula Wissel

The lack of actual cash in our pockets is putting the squeeze on vendors trying to sell the Seattle street newspaper Real Change.

Real Change founding Ddrector Tim Harris says vendors, who are homeless or low income, are hearing customers say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any money.”

“We think it’s more than people putting them off; we think people aren’t carrying cash with them," Harris said.

Real Change is turning to technology for a solution.

Marco Garcia, File / AP Photo

If lawmakers in Hawaii have their way, homeless people there will get a free ride back home to the mainland. The Hawaii state Legislature has set aside money for free flights.  

With Seattle’s close proximity to the state, the city could become a destination for homeless hoping to get back on their feet. But some say the plan won’t solve any problems.  

melissajonas / Flickr

Seattle recently spent a big chunk of money to improve services for homeless families with children, but city officials are at odds over whether it was spent solving the right problems. They grappled with it at a public meeting Wednesday, where homeless mothers told members of the city council that many were without a place to sleep that night.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

A Seattle non-profit is trying to help homeless youth back up their important documents. Why does that matter? Well, try getting a job, government benefits or any number of other things necessary to get your life back on track, without proper paperwork. It’s an especially difficult challenge for homeless kids, who have no safety deposit box, no locked file cabinet, maybe not even a safe drawer somewhere.

Steve Albertson of Springwire, a non-profit that began by providing free voicemail service to homeless people, says often the young people just have a bag with everything in it, including their ID, work permits and phone numbers.