Homelessness

Elaine Thompson / AP

In the wake of last week’s shooting in Seattle that killed two people and injured three, officials from state and local agencies are trying to gain a better understanding of where the crime happened.

Two of the three brothers accused in last week’s fatal shooting at a Seattle homeless encampment have juvenile records. But neither qualified for supervised parole after they were released from juvenile lock-up.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

There are some people who see a problem and find a solution. That’s true of one student at Seattle Pacific University who transformed her feelings about what she was observing into action. Now, her school is all set to become the first private college in Washington state to feed the homeless by recovering leftover meals, rather than letting them go to the compost bin.

21-year-old Maya Swinehart says sometimes seeing people without shelter causes her to do things many other people don’t.

 

There are more than 35,000 public school students who are homeless in Washington state. That’s according to the state Office of Public Instruction.

More than 35,000 public school students in Washington were homeless last school year, according to new figures released Tuesday.

About 3.3 percent of Washington students are homeless.

More than two-thirds of those kids are in families that are doubled up with other families. The number of kids living in hotels and in shelters continues to rise, as well.

The state counted more than 1,600 kids living completely without shelter, up from 1,036 in 2011.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

There are now hard numbers to back up what Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a televised address earlier this week: Seattle and King County are struggling with a growing crisis of homelessness. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine have signed declarations of emergency. But not for a natural disaster – what they are trying to address is the growing problem of homelessness.

In Seattle these days, it is hard to miss the growing number of tents. Each one is the temporary home for a person – or even a family – who is struggling.

The city of Seattle now spends more than $40 million to try to help people who are homeless, but Murray says it is not enough.

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.

Jon Sullivan

  The national organization that brought the case against the City of Boise over its homeless laws is considering its next move. This week, a U.S. district judge dismissed the 2009 case on the grounds that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the lawsuit against the city.

Diueine Monteiro / Flickr

About 240 more homeless veterans in Washington state will soon have an option for permanent housing.

The federal government has teamed up with local officials across the country, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, to tackle veteran homelessness. Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, spelled out their ambitious goal at a press conference in Seattle.

A McLin / Flickr

Residents of tent cities in Seattle are speaking out against a proposal from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to allow more such encampments.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The number of homeless people in King County continues to grow, according to this year’s One Night Count which showed a 21 percent jump from last year in the number of people without shelter. 

Volunteers found people sleeping in doorways, under overpasses, in cars and in alleys. Some were just wandering around, no place to go.

From Auburn to Woodinville, Seattle to Kirkland, 3,772 homeless people were counted this year, up from 3,123 last year.

Kid Clutch / Flickr

Later this week, volunteers will fan out across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to try to tally all of the people without a home as part of annual counts that take place at the end of January. 

A McLin / Flickr

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has revived an idea to expand the number of authorized homeless encampments, calling it a short-term fix for a growing crisis. 

It's hard to ignore the problem if you walk in downtown Seattle early in the morning. You'll pass lots of people sleeping in doorways or under store awnings. Some use cardboard boxes to create a semblance of private space.

Courtesy of Rex Hohlbein

Seattle architect Rex Hohlbein had been designing luxury homes for decades when his focus suddenly turned to the homeless.

Hohlbein says it all started during his morning bike ride to the office. He met a man named Chiaka. This encounter would change his life. 

Take 87 seconds to hear Hohlbein tell his story:

When you’re a homeless person, finding shelter isn’t easy. But when you’re a homeless family, especially a family with a dad, the options are even more limited.

For Seattle’s homeless families with a male head of household, there are few choices for temporary shelter. There are hotel vouchers and encampments, but otherwise families are split. Women and children go off to one shelter, men end up elsewhere.

This year the Seattle City Council helped fund a new type of homeless shelter, called a congregate model, where families can stay together. As the council prepares for the 2015 budget, council members are reviewing a handful of pilot programs to fight family homelessness.  

Taylor Winkel

Across the country, more than one million kids may not know where they’re going to sleep tonight. It could be in a car, on a friend’s couch, in a homeless shelter, or even on the street.

In Washington state alone, there are more than 30,000 homeless children. And for these kids, getting their homework done is the least of their problems. Now a unique program out of Tacoma is trying to help those kids do better in school, one family at a time.

joolie / Flickr

Seattle city leaders are working to establish a citywide system of lockers for the city’s homeless residents, council members Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell announced in a guest blog post in The Stranger on Tuesday.

Lockers, the council members wrote, would free homeless residents from having to “drag your possessions with you to your interview, on your back, in bags, whatever you have, stigmatizing you for sure as homeless.”

Cindy Hohlbein

Rex Hohlbein had been designing luxurious homes for more than two decades when his life began to shift.

He began inviting homeless people into the office of his architecture firm to warm up, use the bathroom and get a cup of coffee. Pretty soon, he found it hard to spend his days designing million-dollar homes when he was meeting so many people he found sleeping in tents or under a doorway.

The only overnight shelter for young adults in downtown Seattle is about to close due to money troubles.

YouthCare says funding from a private grant has run out and as a result, its 20-bed shelter will close in January.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Homeless residents of a large Seattle tent city warn that closing down their camp will have dire consequences, while city council members left the door open to keep the camp dwellers together.

About 125 residents make their home at the West Seattle site known as Nickelsville. Advocates told members of a city council committee Wednesday that many of those tent dwellers will die on the streets if the city moves forward with threatened evictions September 1st.

Gabriel Spitzer / Flickr

Seattle officials want to break up the two-year old homeless encampment called Nickelsville, but residents there say that would just cause a new tent city to spring up somewhere else.

Seven city council members sent a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn Monday calling for Nickelsville to shut down by Sept. 1. The camp, made up of more than 100 homeless people, is about to begin its third summer parked near the Duwamish River in southeastern West Seattle.

Alex O'Neal

More case workers are needed in Seattle to help move people out of emergency shelters into other kinds of housing. That’s one of the messages the Seattle City Council will hear today as they get an update on ways to tackle homelessness.

Plymouth Housing

King County has been working to reduce homelessness, but the need for housing and shelter is still large. In Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, 81 homeless people will soon move into a brand-new building called the Pat Williams Apartments.

Gong ringers count-off for homeless population

Jan 25, 2013
Ed Yourdon / Creative Commons

Over 2,000 people sleep outside in the cold according to One Night Count which tracks King County’s homeless population. Outside Seattle City Hall today, many involved with the count struck a gong for every homeless person found during this year's count.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

If you’ve been to downtown Seattle, you’ve probably seen people talking to themselves on street corners, or shouting at strangers. Now there’s a fresh face trying to help those in psychiatric crisis.

He’s a roaming mental health counselor, hired by the Union Gospel Mission and downtown’s business-funded Metropolitan Improvement District.

C4Chaos / Flickr

There are many more homeless children and young adults in King County than previous tallies have found, according to a new count out this month. The count found more than 140 children on the streets, in shelters or in unstable housing, and another 530 or so young adults 25 and under. Volunteers and social service agencies conducted the second annual one-night count in May, targeting homeless youth.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – A count by a volunteers showed the number of homeless people in Bellingham is declining.

Housing advocates say their organizations have had success in a difficult economy by targeting services to the most vulnerable. The Bellingham Herald reports that volunteers counted 500 homeless people during the Jan. 26 "point in time" count, compared to 700 last year.

Homelessness as defined for the count includes living on the street or in a vehicle, an emergency shelter or transitional housing.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

More and more homeless people are joining protesters occupying Seattle’s Westlake Park. The Occupy Wall Street movement has a special attraction for people who sleep on the streets.

When you walk through Westlake Park, in the heart of downtown Seattle’s shopping district, you notice the donated tarps and sleeping bags on hand to keep people warm. And there's a big tent where you can get a cheese sandwich or receive first aid.

If you don’t have a home, it seems like a good place to hang out. 

Courtesy of First United Church

City Council in Vancouver, British Columbia, is debating a strategy to end homelessness within ten years, and the always contentious issue has comparisons to efforts already under way in King County.

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