homeless


Kerner-Scott House is a program of Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC). KSH is the site of a DESC shelter for mentally-ill women and contains 40 units of housing. Twenty-five units provide "Safe Haven" housing for homeless mentally ill people who are not currently recieving services, and the fifteen units on the top floor are occupied by chemically dependent formerly homeless adults in recovery. The units themselves serve as tools to help engage clients into recieving services.


Angeline's Center for Homeless Women, a program of the Seattle-King County YWCA, is a safe haven for as many as 250 women a day. The homeless women who come to Angeline's can enjoy meals in the dining room, leave their belongings in large lockers, care for their personal hygiene in showers and bathrooms, and clean their clothes in laundry rooms. On-site mental health and substance abuse counseling are also available.

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF KERNER-SCOTT HOUSE

by Jack Golightly

 

The sun slowly creeps over the parking lot and leaks onto the patio. Sleepy shelter women get up, some with complaint, some without. Lights are turned on. Smells of bacon and eggs waft around the building while the night shift RCs [Residential Counselors] make coffee. Yesterday there was only cold cereal for breakfast. Women procrastinate getting on the van for the ride back downtown to Angeline's. Day shift arrives and things get jovial. The TV comes on; a resident plants flowers outside; plans are made behind the scenes to strategize and move in an unsuspecting outreach client. Music is played. Jokes are made. Cooking tests are performed. Toilets are plugged. Residents are congratulated on coming to staff before the flood takes over the front office. Toilets are unplugged. Floors are cleaned. Front desk staff say hey to everyone. The room is bright. The sun warms people up till the swing shift rolls in and things get different-busy. The community room is transformed into a dinner area. Walker, Texas Ranger is turned off in lieu of the X-Files. Residents bring strange things through the door to decorate their apartments. Beer gets dumped out. Someone unsuccessfully sneaks up the elevator. The fire alarm goes off. Someone was drying their clothes in the oven again. Someone gets a lesson about using the dryer. Dinner is served. The shelter is opened again. Residents file around getting meds and joking with the RCs. The van is driven downtown to pick up tonight's shelter guests. The van's light is out. A work order regarding the van's light is filed, and hey, since we're at it, the van is also out of windshield washer fluid. On the way back from the Women's [Shelter] Referral Center with 12 or so ladies the radio is on. Someone sings. Someone opens the window. Someone says something bizarre and the driver smiles quietly. The women roll out the door. The women enter the shelter and find their beds. Linens fly around in organized confusion. There's leftover juice in the community room, hey, and Soul Train comes on at midnight. A few residents hang in the office listening to music with the RCs.  A would-be illegal entrant is un-snuck out of the building. Lights go off in the shelter. The RCs are sorry that people snore next to you but try to ignore it. Night owls are out talking, relaxing in the office and the smoking room. Smokes are given out due to the good mood. Scrabble is played at the corner table. Night shift rolls in. They monitor the peace, talk to the insomniacs, get ready to make breakfast and watch the place. It is secure. A mini-counseling session breaks out in the office with the relapsed clean and sober resident. Community abounds. The sun slowly creeps over the parking lot. Repeat.



We Want Pie!

First Place School Book Project, December 2006

by Jack Golightly

 

826 Seattle is a nonprofit writing center that helps students, ages six to 18, develop their creative and expository writing skills. We are dedicated to providing students with access to writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English language learning- all free of charge. http://www.826Seattle.org/

 

First Place School is a social service agency and school that works to educate and nurture children and families that struggle with the risk or reality of homelessness. They offer housing, culturally relevant education and support services enabling families to achieve permanent stability. http://www.firstplaceschool.org/

 

Home means somewhere to click, someone to live in it, something to wear… -RobriaJanet

 

We realize very quickly the first week that we will have our hands full. The brave tutors exhibit grace and style while maneuvering around the kids, talking about making a book. We are here to help you write a book, we say. We are going to write a book about Home.

 

Imagine: You are in 2nd or 3rd grade. You have been in school all day, and today is the first day of an after-school program running 6 weeks. Your teacher has said something about writing a book. You have been sitting down for much of the past 8 hours or so, give or take the bus ride and you are again sitting in your group, feeling quite squiggly even after the chaotic Simon Says incident. Book, you say to the strange tutor from this place called 826 Seattle. Write down this: My name is Mister Shama-lama-ding-dong! The group giggles and shrieks, wondering how the tutor will react. A nanosecond of silence descends as the tutor dutifully writes this down.

 

Imagine: Ten minutes have passed, and I am somewhat anxiously walking around to see how things are going. We have not yet been able to establish a significant amount of order, but have successfully banished travel into the Table Cave of Refuge From Tutors. I see Mister Shama-lama-ding-dong’s group writing, and ideas bouncing around. I see a tutor sitting with a girl who didn’t want to participate, and they play hangman. Next week she will go back to her group and write several beautiful pages, and play hangman with another shy girl.

 

We are now at the end of this project, and next Wednesday will be our book reading. Each week has seen new enthusiasm and creativity on the part of both tutors and students. Pages and pages of writing have been produced, pored over, checked for spelling, and edited. Journals – donated by our wonderful friends at PaperBlanks – are being kept! We have done it, by George, the book has been written, and some serious talent has emerged. Home Is Somewhere To Click is a beautiful, funny, insightful work of genius, written by some of the most beautiful, funny, and insightful people I have had the pleasure to work with. I am proud of this little group, and the little book that has come from it.