People experiencing homelessness in Seattle deal with extreme stereotypes.
They must be hooked on illegal drugs, unwilling to work or mentally ill. They must be from elsewhere, here to benefit from services offered in so-called “Freeattle.”
These generalizations helped housed people justify an erroneous conclusion: These people are outsiders.
Seattle’s Human Services Department says otherwise.
A survey of over 1,000 people experiencing homelessness conducted by Applied Survey Research found that most of the population of homeless people in Seattle are from the city or nearby and were forced from their homes as a result of economics rather than any personal failing.
Seventy percent of respondents were from Seattle. A quarter lost housing when they lost their job. Twenty percent said that housing affordability was the main reason they had to move into the streets.
That was despite high levels of education. Twenty-three percent had at least some college or an associate’s degree, while 11 percent had completed college.
Despite recent efforts to move veterans indoors, 14 percent of homeless people in Seattle served in the military.