Government, business and community leaders gathered at CenturyLink Field for United Way’s Changemakers’ Rally on March 20 to discuss how together we can stem the flow of people becoming homeless and more quickly house those currently living outside. The conversation took place at United Way’s Community Resource Exchange where more than 500 volunteers provided critical services to 1,300 families and individuals struggling with homelessness.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan spoke to the importance of addressing the root causes of the issue to prevent more people from falling into homeless. She also stressed that there is no ‘one size fits all solution’ for homelessness and that we must have strategies for people that fit into their reality, noting that what may work for a young person experiencing homelessness may not work for a mom and her child living in their car.
The rally brought a panel of providers and business leaders together to discuss what’s working, what isn’t and what changes need to be made. Participating from business community were; Alice Shobe, Director of Community Engagement at Amazon, John Kelly, Sr. VP of Global Public Affairs & Social Impact at Starbucks and Racquell Russell, VP Government Relations and Public Affairs at Zillow. Lauren McGowan from United Way of King County, Colleen Echohawk from Chief Seattle Club and Kira Zylstra from All Home.
In the two years since homelessness was declared a state of emergency in our community, the number of people experiencing homelessness has continued to rise despite the fact twice as many people moved in to housing in 2017 than the previous year.