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Homelessness in Seattle: A situation too big to ignore

People practice looking the other way; but if we work on the issue, we won't have to

Look around Twitter and the local media today and you'll find a lot of organizations and individuals concentrating their efforts on the fight to decrease homelessness in Seattle. The work goes on every day, but sometimes it makes sense for everyone to consider the same issue on the same day.

People frequently look the other way when they encounter homelessness. It is too easy to look past a person or a tent under an overpass. The real estate market is tough enough that some people aren't able to find housing; or had it, but lost it when rents went up or wages went down or both. Some even have the money, but can't get lease agreements. There are always homeless people because bad luck happens. For a long list of reasons, Seattle's situation is now one of the worst in the nation behind New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

"Homelessness is on the rise in Seattle, and the primary attribution is the rapid increase in housing costs," says Rachel Fyall, a University of Washington public policy professor. -

Some homelessness is caused by people moving to Seattle for jobs, then not finding them; but the majority seem to be displaced locals, some with jobs. One count found over 4,500 on the city's streets; which means there are more. The issue is not confined to Seattle. The suburbs and the rest of the state are dealing with the issue, too. There are over 35,00 students that are homeless in the state. That's more than the population of Bothell or Burien, just in students. Add in their households and the total is higher.

At least people and organizations are trying to find solutions.

"Seattle has become one of very few U.S. cities to not only acknowledge encampments, but to build more of them." - Grist

That's not to say Seattle is without fault, as an article in The Stranger points out. If you're homeless and outside a tent city it can be tough. The city is taking action, finding $1.2M in funding for a shelter program - an amount that is less than the asking price for 18% of the houses on the market. Even corporations are getting involved. Amazon recognizes the issue and is providing some housing.

What can you do? Probably more than you know; if nothing else, join in the #SeaHomeless conversation today.

· ‘one-stop’ homeless shelter [MyNW]
· City of Seattle Trashes Homeless People's Belongings [Stranger]
· Tent cities [Grist]
· Homeless Info [HI]
· The hidden homeless [ST]
· Where are the homeless coming from? [ST]
· Why Amazon Is Now Housing the Homeless in Seattle [Time]
· Seattle rallies to address homeless crisis [Crosscut]