Keep Fighting and Climb That Mountain: Advice for Those Who Are Struggling

By United Way of King County, on November 18, 2019 | In Fighting Homelessness, Success Stories

Andy has a message for those who find themselves “down and out,” as he put it: Keep fighting!

Andy was doing all the right things—working hard at multiple jobs and saving money. But one of those jobs couldn’t use him for a few weeks, and he had used his savings for a security deposit, so he could only pay for part of his rent that month.

He told his landlord that he would be able to pay the rest later in the month to no avail. The landlord moved to evict him three days later.

“I wanted to pay the debt that I had,” Andy said. “It’s just that it’s not all there right now. I asked if they were willing to work with me, but it was a flat out, ‘no.’”

If you’re down and out, you gotta climb, get to the top of the mountain! Just keep fighting and don’t look back!

Andy, who volunteers at local food banks, tried to get help from some charitable organizations over the summer, but their money had dried up.

Andy, an affable native of West Seattle, kept fighting to stay in his apartment.

He found inspiration in the “Sound of Music” song “Climb Every Mountain.”

“If you’re down and out, you know, you gotta climb, you know, get to the top of the mountain!” he said. “Just keep fighting and don’t look back!”

Andy, on the verge of getting evicted from his apartment, sought help from Home Base, a United Way of King County program that provides emergency relief funds and pro bono legal help to people who are in the process of getting evicted. Home Base was able to get his finances stabilized, and he was able to stay in his home.

He’s happy and grateful that he was able to get the help he needed, and he’s fighting and working to build up his savings again. He jokes that if he ever wins the Power Ball Lottery, he’ll move back to the place where he grew up: West Seattle.

Eviction Prevention Fights Homelessness in Seattle

Eviction is a leading cause of homelessness, and one of the most effective ways to address homelessness is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Because of historic, institutional and structural racism, there are persistent race-based inequities that manifest throughout our community. We see this with evictions as well. According to the latest data, more than half of eviction filings were against people of color, and African Americans are 4.5 times more likely to get evicted from their homes. These groups are less likely to have benefited from multigenerational inherited wealth, they may have experienced displacement due to gentrification and are more likely to experience employment and housing discrimination—all because of racism.

In the first six months after it launched, Home Base provided legal assistance to 1,296 households and prevented 414 of them from being evicted. Of the 1,296 households that received legal aid, 68 percent were people of color and 42 percent were African American. The program provides a mix of one-time emergency funds, volunteer legal representation and the support of a social worker to connect people like Andy to other services and develop a long-term plan.


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