I wrote a letter recently about an unrelated issue. However, while checking for this older letter I saw many letters have come in last month and this month regarding homelessness.
I grew up on the East Coast and in Texas. But in my 20s, I moved to Seattle. Due to a stress-related domestic violence incident, my husband and I temporarily separated, and I was unable to make use of the family residence during this time.
People living in the city often feel very trapped, reduced to living in a confined space with people who don’t enjoy them — after living like that, to be honest, I found the women’s shelters to be extremely “happy-go-lucky” and overall, a good experience.
My husband and I have an autistic son. He had trouble sleeping at night when we lived in Seattle. Even after moving here, and him being in residential care, it took months to improve his sleep cycle.
That was one of the factors that led to the stress and eventual violence in the home. We were unable to rest. This is just one family’s story, but as you can see, homelessness in my case had more to do with disability than drugs. The only drug I use was legalized last year.
Seattle people have mixed feelings about the homeless. Churches love them from a place of compassion and service, for example.
There are rules, of course, but in general, the day rooms and shelters run by churches are more cheerful and open. Those run by state and town programs tend to be a little more strict, but there are always exceptions.
For example, in the women’s and children’s day room, “Mary’s Place,” there is a very strict policy about drugs. If paraphernalia or bottles are found on the premises, the whole group is evicted for the day. Which hurts the kids a lot, but the “Code Red” approach to social order is effective. The offenders are quickly identified and barred from the day room.
I worked briefly with one of Jason Wicklund’s employees in February. She was wonderful, hardworking and nonjudgmental from what I could tell.
Any negativity about clients was saved for privacy.