Seattle Considers a New Experiment in the Fight Against Homelessness
Amid soaring rents, escalating homelessness and rapid economic growth, Seattle’s housing crisis has reached a fever pitch. But after weeks of debate, a controversial solution goes to vote on Monday.
The City Council of Seattle will vote on a proposal to raise $75 million a year by taxing Amazon, Starbucks, and other large Seattle-based corporations. While Mayor Jenny Durkan asserts that Seattle already spends roughly $70 million annually to curb homelessness, the additional funds will be used to build more affordable housing, offset administrative costs and fund new programs and initiatives.
But despite Seattle’s distinction of having the third-highest homeless population in the United States, this proposed “head tax” is not without its detractors. While proponents of this tax admonish companies like Starbucks for benefiting from a widening gap in income inequality, Starbucks executive John Kelly pushes for reform: “Our strong belief is quite simply reform first, show progress, and then talk about additional revenue that’s needed.”
But in a city in which a record number of homeless deaths occurred last year, the time has come to act.
How to help fight homelessness in Seattle (or wherever you live)
The No Child Sleeps Outside campaign has raised over $6 million to expand emergency shelter facilities, bolster employment resources and provide healthcare services for those in need. You can support this campaign by donating.
Women In Black is a remembrance project created by The Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL) that addresses Seattle’s homelessness epidemic by holding vigils for people who have died homeless. You can receive updates on upcoming vigils by calling 206.956.0334 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They also accept donations.
Fight homelessness wherever you live.
Connect with and support The National Coalition for the Homeless, National Alliance to End Homelessness, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and Breaking Ground. Some of these organizations have chapters where you live.
Many local homeless shelters accepts donations of personal hygiene products.
Share a kind word.
Homeless people and families, whether or not they're on the streets, are often invisible and ignored. A little compassion can go a long way.