Washington State’s homelessness rate grew last year. Nearly 22,000 homeless people were counted during January’s annual tally.
The rate of homelessness continues to increase because, we have low employment rates, high rent prices, substance abuse, and mental illness. Last year, Washington State’s homelessness rate grew 7.5 percent.
People will argue that homeless people should just get a job, but that is not always easy. Homeless people can’t get a job because they do not have a history of employment. Their lack of address gives an impression of not being able to find a stable placement. Employers don’t want to hire people that they see as unreliable. They stereotype them to believe that they must have substance abuse issues, or mental illnesses.
This is not just an adult problem. This is also a teen problem. People always say that our youth is our future, so we need to support them and give them resources that they need. Preventing teens from becoming homeless means, educating, supporting, and giving them structured environments for them to develop.
These teens need to know that not only can they have a safe place to sleep, but they can have help engaging in school, preparing for employment, learning life and enrichment skills, and help accessing community services. Of course things don’t always go perfectly, so teens should also be given resources to other services if they end up in the terrible situation of becoming homeless.
There are places available to our homeless community, but not everyone who needs it, knows about it. One local shelter is Cocoon House. The have multiple placements. They have their home for 13 to 15 (short-term 30 days), 16 to 17 (short-term 30 days) and 14 to 17 people(long term). Go to local shelters for volunteer to teach classes, and to prepare meals.
We need more shelters in our community. If there were more available, there would be a better chance for people to get off the street. We need more drop in sites so that people just have a place to go. Donate or volunteer at Cocoon House. They have multiple locations in our state, and they are very proud of supporting and helping our homeless youth. I have seen their work first hand.
If you want to help our homeless community in Washington, you can do something as simple as acknowledging it, and having conversations with your friends and family about how they can help.