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homeless

Alex Williams, an operator for 211, King County's information line for emergency food or shelter.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Kim Malcolm talks with Mark Ellerbrook about King County's new approach to connecting homeless people with shelters and housing. Ellerbrook is regional housing and community development manager for King County.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

It’s been nearly eight months since Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency around homelessness. But the situation seems to be as bad as ever, or worse.

Murray said the state of emergency has given the city access to more resources, local and federal. But he acknowledges the city still has a long way to go to solve the homelessness crisis.


Troy Morgan and his sister Robin Morgan moved from Las Vegas. After experiencing high Seattle costs, they moved into a tent encampment because they didn't want to split up.
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Troy Morgan lived in Las Vegas for about a decade. It was nothing fancy, he and his sister lived in a hotel.

Morgan suffered from chronic pain, the result of a workplace injury and subsequent spinal fusion. So when he heard the University of Washington had a good medical program, he and his sister packed up all their belongings and headed for Seattle. 

Sharon Jones built a housing project out of noodles
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is working on a strategic response to homelessness. But the endless meetings and the conversations at the City Council – they can make solutions seem so far away.

But there are people closer to the street who have ideas of their own about what would work.


At Interagency Academy in South Seattle, Principal Kaaren Andrews recruits students who've dropped out of school or are at risk of not graduating. She gives them another chance.

Interagency graduation is June 22. Here are two graduating seniors' stories, in their own words.


When Caitlin Cheney was living at a campground in Washington state with her mother and younger sister, she would do her homework by the light of the portable toilets, sitting on the concrete.

She maintained nearly straight A's even though she had to hitchhike to school, making it there an average of three days a week. "I really liked doing homework," says Cheney, 22, who is now an undergraduate zoology student at Washington State University. "It kept my mind off reality a little bit."

Donald Morehead talks about life as a homeless person in Seattle at an event from Seattle Public Library and KUOW on June 3, 2016.
Courtesy of Seattle Public Library/Alex Garland

The Jungle is a three mile-long homeless camp under Interstate 5. It’s been in the news frequently since a deadly shooting there on January 26.

Many of us have driven over it, maybe without thinking about the hundreds of people who live there. What brought them there? What’s it like? And why do many residents prefer it to homeless shelters?

Brandie Osborne, a resident of the Jungle, speaks at a KUOW event at Seattle Public Library about the city's plan to partner with the Union Gospel Mission to clear out the Jungle.
Courtesy of Seattle Public Library/Alex Garland

Bill Radke speaks with Jeff Lilley, head of the Union Gospel Mission, about their outreach efforts in the homeless encampment known as the Jungle. UGM is partnering with the city of Seattle to help provide services before the encampment is cleared out. 

Ken Brooks says the Safe Zone, which operates on a shoestring compared to more the famously expensive Safe Lot in Ballard, has made his life a lot easier.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

A safe place for homeless people to park their Recreational Vehicles was supposed to shut down Friday. It’s a simple gravel lot, near the city pet shelter in the Interbay neighborhood. 

But it turns out, Friday wasn’t a hard deadline. The city wants to have another safe parking zone ready for them to move to in SODO.

Kevin Boggs is a patient at one of three methadone clinics in Seattle. He moved into the Jungle last winter, which makes it easier to show up for his daily treatment.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Kevin Boggs moved to Seattle to pursue his glass blowing dreams, but today he stands in line at a methadone clinic.


Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about the growing number of homeless people in Vancouver, B.C. and what the city is doing to solve the issue. 

The entrance to a homeless shelter on Third Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Seattle’s homeless shelters don’t work for some people. They have curfews, you can’t stay with your partner, there’s nowhere for your stuff and most won’t take pets.

It’s a problem for many of Seattle’s homeless. But what if we changed the shelter model to get rid of some of these barriers?


The Seattle City Council has passed a resolution refining the mayor’s plan to sweep the Jungle in the wake of criticism. The council’s new resolution is designed to provide jungle residents with some protection from eviction. It follows a week where the council and mayor sometimes seemed at odds over the best approach.

Chris Fojtik and Mahealani Texeira outside Union Gospel Mission. They choose to sleep outside, rather than being separated. Most shelters don't let couples stay together at night.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She had returned to the Jungle to pick up her suitcase.

Then the shooters arrived. She and two others survived, but two people were killed.

FAFSA form for student aid.
Flickr Photo/The Bent Tree (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/4kSAPe

June is the month for college graduation, but for many homeless youth, college is beyond their grasp. The paperwork for college applications can be overwhelming and being homeless complicates that process.

When Clarissa Lunday applied for federal financial aid, she had to provide information about her homelessness. 


This week we're making it up as we go

May 27, 2016
'Week in Review' panel Sydney Brownstone, C.R. Douglas, Rob McKenna and Ron Sims.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Seattle's Mayor is combating the city's homeless problem by "making it up as we go." That means, in part, shutting down the homeless encampment known as the Jungle. So where will those people go?

And how did Bernie Sanders go from winning the caucus to losing the primary? 

We'll tackle these subjects and more on Week in Review.

Listen to the live discussion Friday at noon, join in by following @KUOW and using #KUOWwir. Audio and podcast for this show will be available at 3 p.m.

Many cats and dogs live as pets to residents of the Jungle, Seattle's notorious homeless encampment.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Members of Seattle’s City Council want to stop the mayor from clearing out the homeless encampment known as the Jungle.

A committee led by Councilmember Sally Bagshaw is introducing an alternative that would have the city wait until it can offer permanent housing to everyone there.


A camp area at the caves in the north part of the Jungle, Seattle's notorious homeless encampment that leapt onto the map after a fatal shooting in January.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with Jordan Royer about his experience managing the Jungle in the early 2000s. Royer was in charge of dealing with the homeless camp under Interstate 5 under Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. He said the city can manage the Jungle, but it most likely will never be able to truly shut it down. 

Homeless advocates gather outside Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's office.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Some homeless people and supporters are pushing back against plans to close the encampment under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle. They interrupted a Seattle City Council meeting this week and say they plan to keep fighting. 


The Union Gospel Mission works with Operation Nightwatch to fill up its spare beds at the end of the night.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The doors at Operation Nightwatch open at 9 p.m. Homeless men and women – but mostly men – stream in and grab a hot meal.

Then they sit around. They look anxious. They’re waiting for beds.


Some residents of the Jungle keep tidy encampments, like William Kowang above, while others live in garbage with needles strewn about.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It's the beginning of the end for the sprawling homeless camp under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle. 

This week, officials from the city of Seattle and Washington state unveiled a plan to clear out and clean up the Jungle.

Homeless families outside a shelter in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Bill Radke speaks with Dr. Maralyssa Bann of Harborview Medical Center about the challenges homeless people face managing chronic illnesses. 

Many cats and dogs live as pets to residents of the Jungle, Seattle's notorious homeless encampment.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Kim Malcolm speaks with Tim Harris, local advocate for the homeless and founder of the street paper Real Change, about the plan to clear out and clean up the Jungle. Harris says this plan will not help the residents of the Jungle, it will displace them. 

A homeless encampment in what the city calls the I-5 East Duwamish Greenbelt. It's unofficially known as The Jungle. But officials say they are preparing to move the people who live here.
City of Seattle Photo

State and Seattle officials have a plan for emptying out a two-mile stretch of homeless camps under Interstate 5 around Dearborn. It means the end of the area known as the Jungle.

Officials say the plan is to keep people from returning - without building a fence.


Carmen and Robert Patterson have lived in the Jungle, a homeless encampment in Seattle, on and off since 2011. They and several others who live in the Jungle shared photos, stories and text messages with us.
Courtesy of Robert Patterson

Robert Patterson lives in the Jungle, a homeless encampment. This is a transcript from his audio diary: 

Sunday is … Carmen and I try to make this our day that we don’t have to go anywhere. It’s a lazy day.


'Week in Review' panel Erica C. Barnett, Ross Reynolds, Gyasi Ross and Jonathan Martin.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ever heard of Seattle's 20-year plan? We discuss why you should care about it.  And what kind of hope should we have for the new approach to the homeless encampment known as the Jungle? Also, as Sound Transit move towards a light-rail future, are they spending too much on the opening day festivities? What does it mean for Washington state now that the Army Corps of Engineers has put a stop to a new deep water terminal in Cherry Point? 

Ross Reynolds talks over the week's news with writer Erica C. Barnett, columnist Jonathan Martin and lawyer and activist Gyasi Ross.  

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is on a campaign to show that the city’s latest tools to combat homeless — its Navigation Centers — are producing results.

Over the last month, Lee has popped up for photo ops at these new shelters and the supportive housing units that go along with them. Behind the scenes, the city’s homeless czar, Sam Dodge, has been gathering data to build the case another way — with numbers.

Tents lined up in the Jungle, which extends north and south under Seattle's Interstate 5 corridor.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Almost nobody provides outreach and services in the Jungle, the homeless encampment under Interstate 5. Most city-funded outreach workers won't go there because of safety concerns. 

But that's about to change. The city of Seattle is planning what they're calling an intense period of outreach in the Jungle. 

Courtesy of New York Times/Evan McGlinn

Bill Radke speaks with Kirk Johnson, Seattle bureau chief at The New York Times, about the families he met while reporting a story on Mary's Place Guest Rooms, a new shelter for homeless families in South Lake Union.

Jon Meer of Light Under The Bridge is the outsider who comes to the Jungle most often.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Every day, social workers reach out to homeless people on the streets of Seattle. But there’s one place social workers seldom go: the Jungle.

That’s the notorious homeless encampment under Interstate 5 where there have been assaults, rapes and stabbings. Many outreach workers consider it too dangerous. But a few do enter the Jungle. 

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