We know there’s plenty of work on this mission to ending homelessness and plenty of people who need help getting off the street. Tonight.
That said, at the DSA discussion last week, the audience was left with a feeling of hopefulness on the progress. Here are some of the things that have been accomplished in the last six months:
10. More than 300 people have moved into housing through United Way’s Streets to Home program (check out Marrissa in the photo above – moving into her new apartment!)
9. Mary’s Place opened a new 24/7 shelter in White Center that provides a temporary home for 30 parents and children – and will eventually serve 70. In addition to around-the-clock shelter, the program provides onsite case management, meals and hygiene services and support services to help each family move toward self-sufficiency.
8. Rapid Re-Housing. King County and the City of Seattle are scaling up Rapid Re-Housing, a national best practice that quickly moves people into housing.
7. The city of Seattle has expanded emergency shelter investments. With dozens of partners like Compass and Downtown Emergency Services Center, they’re now providing 24/7 shelter, plus the services necessary to help people to transition into homes. Bonus? To ensure we’re all funding the most effective programs, King County, City of Seattle, and United Way have all aligned our funding contracts with consistent performance measures.
6. We are changing policies at a local level. Last week the Bellevue City Council voted to approve a men’s shelter and the cities of Seattle, Kent, Renton and Tukwila have passed legislation to eliminate discrimination based on the source of income people use to pay rent.
5. Landlords and property owners have been called upon to help provide access to housing necessary. Mary’s Place officials have appealed to large-scale landlords to join Amazon, Pemco Insurance, Vulcan Real Estate and other companies that have opened some of their buildings.
The City of Seattle, All Home, King County, and United Way are teaming up to create a Housing Resource Center that mobilize landlords and property owners to identify hundreds of units and reduce barriers to renting to people experiencing homelessness.
4. King County has opened five one-stop service centers. Regional Access Points are a place where people experiencing homelessness can get assessed for housing. United Way is supporting a team of AmeriCorps to support staff and serve more people.
3. 30 young people aging out of foster care have been housed. Through a United Way-funded pilot targeting foster youth, YVLifeSet has helped 30 young people at risk of moving from the foster care system straight into homelessness, find stable housing.
2. More than 100 people formerly homeless, now have full-time jobs. Thanks to United Way’s Jobs Connect, people struggling with homelessness are finding the help they need (expired food handlers card, place to store your belongings during the day) and getting connected to jobs. And with your help we can expand this program this year.
1. Everyone is fighting for this. Not only are donors, companies and community leaders fighting for a win here, the hundreds of people who have experienced homelessness and are now off the streets are a resilient and persistent bunch. Ariel, who continues to navigate daily health problems, Ingrid who rose above the challenges she faced as a teen and Nikita whose resilience landed her out of a suffocating family situation and into an apartment for her and her girls – they’re all fighting for success.
That’s quite a list since United Way and our partners commissioned a report to help improve our local system. In fact, just last week, the community has issued a 100 Day Challenge to End Youth Homelessness.
Let’s continue to work hard – doing more of what works to house people and less of what doesn’t.