Homelessness in Green Lake
Earlier this week Seattle mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency over homelessness in the city. According to the press release issued by the mayor:
“More than 45 individuals have died while homeless on Seattle streets in 2015 alone. The 2015 One Night Count found 3,772 individuals living outside and unsheltered in King County, a 21 percent increase over 2014. Youth homelessness is also growing rapidly, our Seattle classrooms have nearly 3,000 students without stable housing or shelter.”
The Seattle Times wrote a piece that included a few graphics of where and how homeless individuals in the greater Seattle are have died. While there aren’t any deaths reported in Green Lake from September 2014 – September 2015 (according to the Seattle Times) on October 1, we received an email from a reader saying she saw the Coroner’s Office at Green Lake Park taking away a body she believed was a homeless person. (We tried to verify this through Seattle Police Department Police Records, which may indicate that a crime wasn’t involved.) Green Lake is not immune. The number of homeless in our park appears to be growing. I see more tents pitched in the thickets of the park and more homeless on park benches than I have in the past.
The mayor outlined a $5 million + plan that would increase shelter beds, flexible funds that would quickly move people through the emergency shelter system into stable housing and mental health assistance.
King County also has a website that showcases ways to help the homeless.
The problem seems insurmountable. But even in Green Lake there are a variety of ways to help.
The upcoming Pathway of Lights is a charity event where you can bring food for the needy, which includes homeless or those struggling to make ends meet.
Buy a Real Change newspaper from the vendors selling them at PCC Aurora and in front of the Green Lake Starbucks.
You can also just say “hi.” Being homeless must be an extremely socially isolating experience. So a friendly smile can go a long way. The temperatures are dropping outside and the need will only get greater.