This is a guest post from Stone Gossard, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and a founding member of Pearl Jam. Above photo credit: Karen Loria.
You can’t be a Seattleite and not feel the gravity of the situation that’s going on in our streets. The issue of homelessness is everywhere.
It’s close to home for me, literally. Ten years ago, while taking my dog on a walk, I saw a homeless man in a greenbelt near my house. Eventually, we started talking. He became a friend. We talked about his background and about getting indoors, instead of under a bridge, which is where he lived. But he didn’t trust the system and wasn’t ready to go indoors to a shelter. He had some mental health issues and may have experienced addiction at some point, but he was pretty clear headed. I respected his decision, but kept up hope.
Very early on, DESC reached out to teach him what his options were. He told me they would visit monthly and see if he was ready to come indoors.
Eventually, he was finally convinced to move inside. He’s happy. I spoke to him recently and he joked that “it’s all about the mental and the dental.” Anyone who knows homelessness knows how important it is to address those issues, how much it means after years living on the streets.
Seven years on the street is seven years too many. Seattle is an amazing town, one I’m proud to be from. It’s the kind of place that if we really come together and focus on something, we can accomplish results beyond what people expect. To move that marker so that we really begin to understand homelessness in a new way, intertwining mental health, drug addiction, abuse, race and inequity.
Pearl Jam wants to help change people’s thinking. There are thousands of people living without shelter in Seattle. The Home Shows at Safeco Field August 8th and 10th won’t just celebrate our hometown that we love so much, but will help others get homes and off the streets.
See you this summer.