HOMELESSNESS IN SEATTLE:
Homelessness in Seattle can be described by this quote by Mayor Jenny Durkan: “Seattle’s homelessness crisis has been years in the making, and its roots run deep, touching racial inequity, economic disparities, mental health treatment, rising housing costs, mental health, addiction, and so much more. We have a responsibility to be honest that this crisis won’t go away overnight. Lasting, meaningful progress will take years. But we still must act – and are acting – to improve life in Seattle.” Seattle has the third-largest homeless population despite being the 18th largest city(both the first 2 cities with the largest homeless population are also the 2 largest cities in the USA) with numbers continuing to rise. The severity of the issue can be seen in the graph below.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HOMELESSNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH:
Homelessness and mental health are caught in an endless cycle. A shown in the left infographic rates of mental illness is high in the homeless population, but the population that most likely needs it the most has the most barriers to help and services as shown on the infographic on the right. One issue cannot be addressed without addressing the other, and as of right now, the situation is dire in Seattle.
As of now the greatest champion of this cause in Seattle is the DESC. They currently offer many programs including Mental Health Services; Substance Use Disorder Treatment; Support, Advocacy, Growth, and Employment(SAGE); Homeless Outreach Stabilization and Transition(HOST); Program of Assertive Community Treatment(PACT); Community Outreach and Advocacy Team(COAT); Services and Housing to Access Recovery Program(SHARP); Onsite Medical Services; Lew Middleton Drop-In Center. The DESC is amazing, but 1 organization alone, no matter how important and impactful, cannot solve an issue as large as this alone. Additionally, I had no idea the DESC existed until I began to research the issue, so it stands to reason that many of the homeless population doesn’t know either, which leads me to…
There isn’t much I can personally do to address the larger issue, but I can bring awareness to both the issue and the organizations working to solve it. I plan to make pamphlets and posters with basic information on this topic that I can place at food banks, shelters, and just places with high foot traffic. I would also like your input on things I can do and ways to address mental health in the homeless population. I encourage all of you to do the same and I will also post the suggestions that I receive in the google form to the comment section after a few people have replied so that you may choose those options as ways to help as well.