State of Emergency, Nov. 2015

“Mayor, County Exec Declare ‘State of Emergency’ Over Homelessness” was the recent eye-catching front page headline in the Seattle Times. This shocking story described the 66 homeless deaths in King County so far this year, and included these staggering statistics: 3,000 newly homeless people in King County each month and 3,000 homeless kids in Seattle Public Schools – including many in our neighborhood public schools. These numbers are extremely alarming and serve to refocus our energy on one of our most critical jobs here at the Helpline – helping to reduce and prevent homelessness. Our focused rent assistance provides short-term emergency aid that helps people in crisis — assistance that often can mean the difference between staying in housing or ending up on the streets for individuals and families right here in our own neighborhood. Through this program we prevent 550 evictions each year, making a tremendous difference by stopping homelessness from occurring in the first place. Our prevention model is not just about doing the right thing; it also makes economic sense. It costs far less to keep someone in their home than to provide services to them once they are homeless.
We also provide security deposits to help move individuals and families out of homelessness and into housing. Security deposits are often the only barrier preventing someone from obtaining permanent housing. In the first six months of this year alone we provided move-in assistance to 32 households, including 43 children. For some families, this is the first time they have had their own home — a place where they can sit at the table and have a meal together.
We are indeed in the throes of a true emergency, but we’re proud that thanks to you and your support Queen Anne Helpline is an important part of the solution.