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There is a community at the Bread of Life Mission by Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle where I stay.

There are working people there who can't afford to rent an apartment and still eat. There are young and old men in transition. People with serious medical conditions. Men "marked" with felony convictions struggle to find their way after being released. who have great difficulty getting jobs or rental housing. There are also substance abusers and others with mental health challenges that being homeless will exasperate.

We can help people find ways out of homelessness. Shelters available for those already employed is a good start. The shelters could give residents information on leasing less expensive units that are available and assist arrange the neccesay financing.

Storage is challenging for homeless people whether or not they live in shelters. Setting up facilities to keep belongings would have real benefits for those looking for work.This would allow them to store things and allowing carry on with the other work involved with independent living.

Shelters for seniors and those with healthcare needs could direct residents to existing services. Weaknesses in current programs would be more easily identified with a collected effort.

Job training and de-escalation techniques are helpful in finding work. In fact, teaching de-escalation techniques might be a great advantage to anyone who is homeless. Being able to overlook and difuse situations at work can be more important than having the skills for the job. Training options in different fields would be a good approach to allow residents to make long-term choices to rather than dead-end opportunities.

Regularly scheduled outreach to the unsheltered where they are settled is another way to lift people up. Services such as:

- Senior Housing

- Treatment for Alchoholism and Drug Addiction 

Parolees "Marked" with Felony Convictions

Education and Job Training

- "Clubhouse International" is a program to help those recovering from mental illness and is showing promise.

I volunteer at the First United Methodist Methodist Church on Sunday mornings. They have been putting on a Shared Breakfat for over twenty years. People are welcomed, waited on, and allowed to sit comfortably and eat without concern for what may be coming for a moment. To have comfortable social interaction and see people you know makes a big difference in carrying on. It is a reminder of the better part of our world. Our guests, who come to Shared Breakfast every week, tell us that being treated with kindness and respect is something they look forward to all week.

There are many Seattle area universities offering degrees in Social Services. Students could be encouraged to interact with the people who are having significant social chellenges. Having interaction with real people as opposed to textbook stereotypes would give valuable understanding to everyone.

I don't have cure for homelessness but more can be done.


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