Grantee Spotlight: There’s More To Do, Together
Last week’s One Night Count conducted by Campion Foundation grantee, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, provided a stark reality check on the homelessness emergency. Above all, it shows that we need to do more. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance will be a leading partner in the response. On February 2, 2016, more than 600 advocates organized by WHLIA descended on Olympia to tell legislators that housing is a basic human right, willing an end homelessness in Washington state now. Below, their executive director, Rachael Myers, provides a call to action.
We are grateful to the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness for providing leadership in conducting the One Night Count of people experiencing homelessness in King County, and to the volunteers who spent the night documenting this crisis.
The number of people surviving outside in King County – 4,505 – is heartbreaking. On the morning of January 29th volunteers across King County counted those who are unsheltered – families with babies and school age children, people in wheelchairs, people sleeping on buses, senior citizens, and so many more. Some would leave their tents or cars in the morning to go to a classroom, or to a job. All are human, members of someone’s family, and all are depending on us to do a better job at solving this crisis.
Homelessness has been declared an emergency in Seattle and King County, but this crisis extends beyond these borders. Local communities all across Washington are experiencing a homeless emergency, and it is not a crisis they can solve alone. It will take the combined efforts of community members, local partnerships, the state, and the federal government all working together.
That’s why the Housing Alliance is working hard at the state level to fight for resources like the Housing Trust Fund and to protect the Consolidated Homeless Grant – both of which help local communities address homelessness. It’s why we’re working to improve tenant rights and protections, because unfair and unnecessarily barriers to housing – like landlords refusing to accept a housing voucher – are making this problem worse.
It’s also why we’re calling on the federal government to come to the table as a true partner in addressing the housing crisis that exists all across the nation. 35 years of cuts to federal housing programs have driven much of what we see on the streets today.
And it’s why we’re building a movement – of people who care, who will speak up, and who are willing to do the work.
We know how to solve this crisis.
What’s missing is the political will.