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Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe is a University District coffee shop and a source of vegan dishes.
Facebook Photo/Chaco Canyon

Signs of public drug-taking are all over Seattle’s University District.

But an overflowing container of used needles proved too much for one restaurant customer.

From left, Anthony Banks, Zack Larson, Chris Chase, Devin Ottesen and James Kennemer laugh while working on a job site on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, on 38th Ave East in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Seattle area needs more housing.

There’s not enough construction workers to build all the houses we need.

Meanwhile, ex-prisoners have a hard time finding work and a place to live.

One woman and her company found a way to tackle all these problems at the same time.


Thaddeus Teo counts the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, on the Marion Street Ferry Walkway in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Hundreds of volunteers scattered across King County early Friday morning to count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count.

The annual count gives a snapshot of the homelessness crisis and, despite King County and Seattle spending tens of millions of dollars on services in recent years, the tally has continued to rise.

Going to college can be hard, but it’s especially difficult for students experiencing homelessness. Washington lawmakers are exploring ways state colleges could help these students.

Fort Lawton at night
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2CS0Zut

A plan to bring affordable housing to a swath of land near Discovery Park received overwhelming support from the residents who attended a public hearing Tuesday night.

Terry Cook lives near the proposed development in Magnolia. She said the addition of affordable housing and services for homeless seniors would benefit the neighborhood.

Matthew Hicks looks at his mother Tiffany as she reads his report card on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at their apartment in Auburn.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What’s it like to finally have a place for you and your children to live, after spending most of the year homeless?

“Surreal,” said Tiffany Hicks, whose family we told you about in two stories this year (links below).


Stephan Blanford, former Seattle School Board member
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Stephan Blanford was the only black person on the Seattle School Board. He decided not to run again this year.

At the end of 2017, KUOW's Race and Equity Team asked him what pressing problem he saw in the city's schools. His answer: 4,000 homeless students.

The new year looks promising for Seattle's Native people

Dec 27, 2017
Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

According to the 2017 Count Us In survey, Native Americans in Seattle/King County are seven times more likely to be homeless than any other population.

Colleen Echohawk, the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit that serves Native people in Seattle, spoke with KUOW about the problem this last summer.


Gabrielitto Rodriguez Barcelotta, at his camping spot in Belltown, does not mind the bike racks that now discourage camping here and separate him from traffic. But bike advocates do mind the city's use of bike racks for this purpose.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s department of transportation is taking some flak for using bike racks to discourage tent camping on Seattle sidewalks.

KUOW photo/Kate Walters

Vera Page’s office is her car, a Chevrolet HHR. Her two phones chime and chirp as she sits parked in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Many of the calls she receives every day are from families in crisis, looking to Page for help.


A six-year-long decline in the number of homeless people in the U.S. reversed in 2017, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.The report said that was largely because of rising homeless populations on the West Coast.

Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/aiu7zy

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington nursing professor Josephine Ensign about the Doorway Project, the UW's effort to address youth homelessness.

The long-term goal of the project is to open a navigation center and hub in the University District that caters to homeless young people. Ensign is coordinator of the project.

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan’s first week in office saw housing help for low-income families, a study of the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and a proposal for two years of free community college tuition for public high school graduates. We’ll look ahead to the challenges to come.

 Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan gives a rose to 4-year-old Araceli Cotto, after taking the oath of office on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at the Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It’s the first day of her new job. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan reads her name on the door of her office at City Hall. What’s going through her head?

“It’s real. And the responsibility is enormous,” she told KUOW’s The Record.

File photo of homeless ecampment under bridge.
KUOW Photo

Gone are the days when Seattle’s homeless service providers simply had their funding renewed with the annual budget.

For the first time in over a decade, the city has competitively bid $34 million in homeless services contracts, cutting funding to some providers with long-standing ties to the city. 


Brand-new. Custom-made. Solar-powered. Brightly colored. Classic Victorian design. Location, location, location — conveniently situated in downtown San Francisco.

We're referring, of course, to the latest addition to the city's fleet of public toilets.

San Francisco rolled out its new "Painted Lady" toilet model this week. And we mean literally rolled out — the toilet is part of the city's Pit Stop fleet of mobile, fully staffed public toilet facilities.

Tents are shown as people gathered to protest the sweeps of homeless camps in November, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle's City Council wants to bring back its "head tax" proposal — and soon. The idea is to tax the city's largest businesses based on their number of employees.

The Record: Monday, November 20, 2017

Nov 20, 2017
KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

Land of the free, home of the easily swayed? Studio 360 host and author Kurt Andersen will tell you how this country has always swallowed fake news, all the way back to its colonist beginnings. He's written a new book called "Fantasyland."

A person sleeps on a bench in a Seattle park.
Flickr Photo/mitchell haindfield (CC BY 2.0)/ flic.kr/p/rnqQho

Last week, Seattle’s leaders rejected a proposed head tax on big business, with the money going to pay for homeless services. But an investigation by the Puget Sound Business Journal found the homelessness crisis isn’t being driven by a lack of money — there’s more than $1 billion spent annually on services for the homeless.

Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18.

His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother's house. But he couldn't stay there forever.

He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program.

Davis Shoulders, center, dances as Rise Up! Action Band member Adrienne Kerr plays the saxophone on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, during a rally at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Activists packed Seattle City Hall Wednesday night to testify in front of lawmakers and demand an end to the removal of unauthorized homeless camps.  

Many of those who spoke also support a proposed business tax that would raise funds to help combat homelessness.

Councilmember Tim Burgess speaks after accepting a nomination from council member Lorena Gonzalez to become the intern mayor of Seattle, during a city council meeting on Monday, September 18, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle mayor Tim Burgess is speaking out against a proposed business tax that would raise extra funds to combat homelessness.

City council members are considering including the tax, known as an ‘employee hours tax’ or a ‘head tax’, in the 2018 budget.

But Burgess said this week that would be a mistake.

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

People from several Seattle organizations plan to camp at Seattle City Hall Wednesday night. They plan to roll out sleeping bags and blankets on the outside plaza and inside the City Hall doors. 

File photo of homeless ecampment under bridge.
KUOW Photo

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a proposed head tax that would require high earning businesses in Seattle to pay $100 per employee. The funds raised would go towards programs that help people experiencing homelessness.  

Donna Smith, center, laughs with Dr. Brad McPhee before getting a filling during the Seattle/King County Clinic on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at Key Arena. Smith drove from Vancouver, Washington, and waited in line starting at 10 p.m. on Wednesday night.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Lines started forming around Seattle’s Key Arena Wednesday night for an annual four-day free health care clinic that began early Thursday morning.

Donna Smith drove from Vancouver, Washington, to get a filling. She arrived shortly before 10 p.m. to wait in line.

Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club.
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell


Many Native people who are homeless in Seattle say they feel invisible.

“We are a city that’s named after a great chief of Suquamish-Duwamish descent, and we don’t always know and feel that in this city,” said Colleen Echohawk-Hayashi, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club. “I think that we have an issue where we don’t really want to engage in it.”

Matthew and Mariah Hicks attend Lowell Elementary School in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, where they are just two of the school's many homeless students.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Lowell Elementary School sits across from million-dollar houses on a quiet street in Capitol Hill. But this school serves some of the poorest children in the city.

A homeless encampment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, taken March 2016.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Seattle City Council members are considering a tax on big business to fund services for homelessness.

This kind of tax is often known as a “head tax” or “employee hours tax.” And it’s actually nothing new for Seattle. The city had something like it for transportation funding, until it was repealed in 2009.

Tiffany Hicks places her hand on her newborn son Elijah as he sleeps on Sunday, September 3, 2017, in their room at Mary's Place in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tiffany Hicks rode a Greyhound bus for four and a half days to get to Seattle. Her brother had recently moved here and said there were jobs. 

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has a shortage of housing. But all over town, houses stand vacant. Either they’re in foreclosure, or they’re waiting to be torn down for development. Some people think vacant homes are an underused resource.

One man steals them.


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