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homeless

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

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's Joshua McNichols about the city's plan to change the way it fights homelessness. A new report from national experts suggests it's time for Seattle to overhaul the service system.

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

Bill Radke speaks with Josh Feit, politics editor at Seattle Met and editor of the Met's politics blog Publicola, about proposed legislation that would make it harder for the city to sweep homeless encampments. 

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

The way homeless camps are regulated in Seattle could change soon.

Tuesday, the City Council proposed legislation to limit homeless sweeps. The legislation is against the wishes of Mayor Ed Murray and his administration.

Devin Silvernail launched The Pledge, aimed to get Seattle businesses to help the homeless.
KUOW PHOTO/ANDY HURST

Seattle is pouring millions into easing the plight of homeless people. But one Seattleite says many small kindnesses could help too.

Devin Silvernail told KUOW’s Emily Fox how a project called “The Pledge” could help business owners fight stereotypes about the homeless.


Eric Jordan and Lisa Hooper are trying to make their camp Rainier Avenue S more tidy and clean. But they feel constrained by the state, which won't let them bring in garbage cans or porta-potties and regularly promises to evict them.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Government workers have been closing down a lot of homeless camps in Seattle in recent months.

Some of those campers have moved into places around the Rainier Valley.

And it’s causing some tensions there.


The tent city where Jungle residents are being encouraged to move.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

In mid-August, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a task force to review the city’s homeless sweeps practice, but homeless advocates are plowing forward with their own plan.

The advocates aren't pleased with Seattle's approach to helping people who live on the street. Specifically, they're concerned about the practice of sweeping homeless camps with little advance notice.

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

Bill Radke speaks with George Scarola about his priorities on how to deal with the Jungle and other issues around the homeless crisis in his new role as director of homelessness for the city of Seattle. 

The tent city where Jungle residents are being encouraged to move.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's Kate Walters about the way unauthorized homeless camps around Seattle are being cleared out. While a lot of care is being taken to provide outreach to residents of the encampment under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle, outreach and services have not been uniformly made available during sweeps of other homeless camps. 

A tent in the Jungle, a Seattle homeless encampment believed to have grown out of the original homeless hobo jungle during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's growth and development reporter Joshua McNichols about the city's plan to close down the homeless encampment under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle and what will happen to the people that live there. 

The tent city where Jungle residents are being encouraged to move.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is taking new action to move homeless people out of the Jungle, a greenbelt under Interstate 5 near downtown.

Once people are out, the state plans to clear out garbage and improve access roads.

Bill Radke speaks with Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Amelia Templeton about the decision by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales to reverse his policy allowing homeless people to camp in public parks or on sidewalks.

23-year-old Alisha Agard reacts as the first ballot results showing up on her phone reveal the housing levy's enormous lead.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Housing Levy in Seattle passed by a wide margin last night. It’ll cost the average home owner $10 a month for seven years. That’s twice the cost of the last levy, which expires this year.


Sandra Anderson enjoys a celebratory meal at one of her favorite restaurants with Kevin Krause and Ravenna Candy from the nonprofit, Navos. Anderson is graduating from Navos' housing program – her apartment will be signed over to her name.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Rob Gilroy had a wife, kids and a good job as a garbage collector. Then a divorce kicked his butt. 

“I was grieving,” Gilroy said. “Unfortunately, I turned to drugs. And the bottom line when it comes to drugs is you’re going to end up with nothing.”


Totten has been homeless since May. He brings his laundry to the Hygiene Center in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The housing market is hot, and older Seattleites are feeling the squeeze. 

Bill Radke speaks with Stephen Quinn, host of CBC Radio's afternoon show, On the Coast, about a recent ruling  that allows the provincial government to shut down a tent camp in Victoria, B.C.

Bill Radke talks with KUOW health reporter Ruby de Luna about Seattle's new mobile clinic that will provide homeless people around the city with basic medical and mental health care, free of charge.

Eric Seitz used to be homeless, he's now a nurse working to help homeless people in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Bill Radke speaks with Eric Seitz about how he turned his life around. Seitz used to be homeless and addicted to drugs. He's now a nurse, he's housed and he tries to help other people in Seattle experiencing homelessness.

week in review radke
KUOW/Bond Huberman

On Wednesday Seattle media devoted their coverage to people experiencing  homelessness. That same day billionaire Paul Allen announced he would invest $1 million to build 13 units in Columbia City for people who are homeless. Is this a workable solution? 

Top read: This little yellow house tells the story of Seattle

Earlier this year two Seattle police officers shot and killed a man named Che Taylor. This week the Seattle Police Department’s Force Review Board ruled that the shooting was “reasonable.” Are these shootings happening because the police have a problem with implicit bias?      

The Sound Transit 3 plan is ready for your ballot this November, but are we ready for it? Is Sound Transit moving too fast with this major transportation plan?

Editors' note: It's Invisibilia bonus time! Sometimes we've got more wonderful stories than we can fit into the Invisibilia show and podcast. But we can't let them go. This story is being heard exclusively on NPR's Morning Edition.

Mock-up of the Compass Crossing pilot project.
Courtesy of Compass Housing Alliance

Bill Radke speaks with OneBuild founder Dale Sperling, about the steel modular housing his company is making for Seattle's homeless. OneBuild is partnering with Compass Housing Alliance to provide 13 modules and social services to some of the city's homeless. Billionaire Paul Allen has donated $1 million to the pilot project.

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.


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