Due to events beyond my control leading to homelessness for several years in Seattle during the late 1990s, my heart goes out to those who suddenly find themselves without a roof over their head nor food to eat.
In this recent economic climate with an ever-increasing number of so-called Tent Cities sprouting up across the land, knowing what resources are available to the community is crucial to help people regain their lives.
Thankfully, Seattle makes available numerous services to those in need, from free meals to shelters, to psychiatric and other healthcare services, to transportation assistance and beyond.
Without knowledge of such services, the first few days of homelessness are often lost in a sea of confusion and despair.
Desperate to survive, many may turn to the first opportunity that presents itself to get off the street only to find that “helping hand” they thought was a friend turn into a predatory nightmare. The city’s homeless women and youth are the most vulnerable to this element and may turn to degradation or even crime in order to receive room and board in a city that offers them little assistance.
Families without a home may become separated because services to house them are typically extremely limited. The elderly, too, may require special needs lacking in some regions.
The shelters that are available are sometimes shunned by the homeless due to overcrowding, rigid sleep schedules, and other requirements they may find unpleasant such as bawdy behavior by others.
Finding employment while living in a shelter may even prove impossible when one must check in during typical work hours.
Hopefully Seattle is on the right track when it comes to treating the disabled and homeless, and I pray they take Vancouver, British Columbia’s example of eliminating homelessness altogether by providing longterm housing for those in need.
Unforutnately, State and Federal budget cuts have made what had been a successful program for many turn into an endless cycle of bureaucratic red tape.
Luckily, new programs are being developed to help the homeless and disabled find work they are capable of without damaging government and other benefits they may be receiving.
Let’s pray that something be done soon to help our nations’ people find a solid footing in this unpredictable world.
To that extent, I’ve been working on collecting videos to help the disabled and homeless at youtube.com/KevinCrosbySeattle
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