Month: February 2015

One Night Count Reveals 3,772 Homeless, Outside in King County

By Marcy Comer

3,772 people were homeless and outside in King County on Jan. 23, according to results from the latest One Night Count – an annual survey organized by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.  This number is an increase of 21% over those found without shelter last year. This number always is assumed to be an undercount – because officials do not count everywhere, and because many people take great care not to be visible. The reasons people are without shelter varies. Lack of affordable housing, poverty, unemployment, untreated mental illness or addiction, and domestic violence all contribute to homelessness.

“This year’s Count is heart-breaking evidence that we cannot cover our community’s most basic needs. Clearly, the crisis of people homeless and without shelter is growing, and clearly we must respond by using every resource we have. Everyone needs a safe place to rest,” said Alison Eisinger, Executive Director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

The One Night Count has two parts:
1. A survey of emergency shelter and transitional housing providers about who is staying in their programs or facilities on that night. Staff from the King County Community Services Division, Homeless Housing Program coordinate the survey.
2. A street count of people who are homeless, without shelter and staying outside, in vehicles or in makeshift shelters. The Coalition has expanded the count from its downtown Seattle origins to include parts of over a dozen suburban cities and unincorporated King County and on Metro Night Owl buses.

How does the Count work?
Over 1,100 volunteers go out with 125+ trained team leaders to pre-arranged areas in parts of Seattle, East King County, North King County, Southwest King County, and South King County. The Count is only possible through the dedicated support from hundreds of individuals and dozens of community organizations, congregations and government agencies.
Since 2006, partial funding for the One Night Count has been provided by the King County Committee to End Homelessness, the coalition of government, business and nonprofits responsible for implementing our community’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. The Count helps to inform progress on the Plan, as well as provide insight into the dynamics of homelessness and inform strategies for solving it.

Why perform the Count?
The One Night Count is carried out for two reasons: to document the nature and extent of homelessness in King County, and to build public engagement and action around the issue. It is a solemn and eye-opening opportunity to witness the survival struggles of our neighbors who are homeless. Hundreds of community members come together for this annual count, which acts as a powerful launching off point for participants to speak up and act and write and advocate to end this crisis.

Why does this matter to the Junior League of Seattle?
JLS is committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Knowledge of our community’s homeless statistics is fundamental to affecting positive change to overall family stability in our community. To learn more about legislative solutions to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time, visit Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA)’s 2015 State Legislative Agenda and The Mockingbird Society’s 2015 State Legislative Agenda.

Homless Summary Graphic

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Ten with a Provisional Member

The Junior League of Seattle is an organization of nearly 1,300 women who are committed to promoting voluntarism and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Membership in the Junior League of Seattle is divided into 3 levels of membership status: Provisional, Active and Sustainer. Provisional status is reserved for members in their first year of membership, which is dedicated to training. Provisional status is followed by Active membership, then Sustainer status.

One of our current Provisional members, Taylor Coughlen, graciously volunteered her time to answer a few questions about why she joined the Junior League and what the Junior League means to her:

What provisional group are you in?

I am in the Panteleoni Provisional group! Most of our group lives in West Seattle: I am one of the outliers residing near Columbia City.

What is your provisional project?

I chose to go with Northwest Art. I have always been interested in learning about art and the motivations behind certain pieces.  I was lucky enough to take art classes all through elementary and junior high school and then to go on to Studio Art in high school. My art teachers were the most inspiring teachers I had growing up, and I can’t imagine missing out on that kind of instruction like some of the kids in this city do. I am excited to get started on the project this spring!

What prompted you to join the Junior League this year?  

I had looked in to different volunteer opportunities when I first moved to the area, but it seemed difficult to get an “in” just as an individual. When I looked into Junior League in Seattle it seemed like the organization provided a lot of structure and contacts within the community that would allow me to volunteer in a variety of roles. Also, as a recent college graduate and transplant from Texas, I missed the group of female friends I met as a member of a service sorority. I wanted to find a group of like-minded women in my new home, and the League seemed like a good place to start.

How did you first hear about the Junior League?

I first heard about Junior League growing up from my grandma when she used a life-changing sourdough bread recipe from the chapter cookbook in Wichita Falls, TX. I looked in to actually joining last year when one of my sorority sisters joined the League in Houston and raved about how much fun she was having.

What are you most excited about for the 2014-2015 year?

Becoming an active!

What most interests you about the Junior League?

I love that the Junior League has such a strong and important history nationally and in Seattle, especially in regards to service to women and children. It feels very cool to be a part of such a network of impressive women and to have the opportunity to continue service to this community that has been happening for over 90 years.

How long have you lived in Seattle?

I have been up here for a year and a half.

What is your favorite Seattle restaurant?

That’s a hard question in a city like Seattle. I love Intermezzo Carmine in Pioneer Square for a fancy date night with nice cocktails, but if I’m really hungry I go for the movie-themed sandwiches and the drink specials at HoneyHole in Capitol Hill.

What is your favorite touristy thing to do in Seattle?

I love going to the market, but especially so when the weather is really bad so that there isn’t such a crowd. I am always up for a Piroshky and tea samples from Market Spice!

What has surprised you the most about the Junior League?

It was surprising that there are so many women who are new to Seattle like I am. I expected JL to be full of native Seattleites.

 

Membership in the Junior League of Seattle is open to women ages 18 and older who express an interest in voluntarism. If you are interested in becoming a member, join us for a Meet & Greet this spring. Send an email to newmemberinfo@jrleagueseattle.org to find out the orientation schedule.