On the 30th anniversary of Homeless Awareness Week, we have seen Pierce County make great improvements in resources and housing for the most vulnerable segment of our population. However, as a community, we have a long trek ahead of us to end homelessness.
Most recent counts indicate that “on any given night, there are 1,997 homeless adults and children in Pierce County.” While this is a great decrease compared to years past, we are still struggling to provide basic services to people whoa re experiencing homelessness in our community.
We have combat veterans sleeping in their cars, 17-year-old youth squatting in abandoned buildings and families sleeping in parks because emergency shelters are full.
Providing resources for individuals who are homeless benefits the entire community. “Ten percent of the homeless population consumes over 50 percent of the resources” means providing housing and support for people who are experiencing homelessness saves us money. Services for youth and young adults who are homeless helps prevent future system involvement, meaning fewer people who will need assistance from the state Department of Social and Health Services.
People are experiencing homelessness in your community, your neighborhood, your backyard. Continue to support agencies that are already working with the homeless, support innovative programs that provide fresh ideas for this challenging population, and remember the least of us while promoting the greater good.
Get educated, and get involved.