We finished up with our annual gear event we wanted to thank all of our local businesses and all the individuals that donated supplies, money and time to make sure we had a great day. We had more than a great day, it was the best event yet!
The morning started out not to cold and thanks to top pot donuts for coffee and donuts and to “Charlie’s Buns N Stuff” for cooking everyone a hot breakfast… It made the waiting in line a bit warmer for the hundreds of homeless men and women that showed up.
We opened the doors at 9:30 and we outfitted approximately 275 men and women before we ran out of survival gear. Our final count on items was:
- 200 Sleeping Bags and Warm Blankets
- 187 Warm Coats
- 85 Warm Fleeces
- 75 Pairs of Boots
- 84 Extra Warm Hoodies
- 89 Duffel Bags
- 120 Back packs
- 230 Pairs of Gloves
- 260 Warm hats
- 120 Waterproof Tarps
- 300 Cold/Hygiene Kits
It was our first year giving away boots, thanks to Trident Seafood, and it turned out to be a great thing. We had 75 pairs of boots to give away and they were all gone within the first hour we opened our doors. It is definitely something we will continue to do so we will be on the outlook for another boot sponsor next year.
It was great to have so many volunteers on board, including a few people from Mayor McGinn’s office. It seemed that our volunteers just know exactly what needed to be done. The love and respect each of them had for all of the homeless guy and gals that came through our doors was immense. I was so happy to hear one older homeless man say that he could “Just feel the love in the air”
It was so great to see that we could make the lives of at least 275 of Seattle’s homeless a bit more bearable throughout our long rainy winter. We will be back next year for our 14th annual “Survive the Streets Gear Giveaway” but in the meantime watch out for some new and exciting changes we are making here at “Survive the Streets”. These changes will change the lives of many more of Seattle’s homeless men and women.
On a special note…We here at “Survive the Streets” would really like to send a special thanks to all the schools that jumped on board and did “gear drives” for us. It was just so great to visit many of these schools and to see how the kids caught on to the idea that even kids can make a positive difference in the community when they work together. The relationships we have developed with these schools will really help us out in the years to come.
I just read an article in USA Today about how many homeless vets there are living on the street. This is not a surprise for many of us who are working with homeless but for those who it is a surprise. Please read this article start to finish. We have to be doing things to help these people as well as the people who are not vets.
This is taken from USA Today on December 26th. The article is below but here is the link also.
The number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are homeless or at risk of losing a roof over their heads has more than doubled in the past two years, according to government data.
Through the end of September, 26,531 of them were living on the streets, at risk of losing their homes, staying in temporary housing or receiving federal vouchers to pay rent, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports.
That’s up from 10,500 in 2010. The VA says the numbers could be higher because they include only the homeless the department is aware of.
The increase arrives as President Obama’s goal of ending homelessness for all veterans is showing some results.
The VA attributes the increase partly to more aggressive efforts to identify and assist this younger generation of veteran.
The department says effects of the two wars on them, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and a slow economic recovery have contributed to their homelessness.
The issue is particularly acute as the military continues to draw down its ranks. About 307,000 are likely to leave the military each of the next four years.
Obama vowed in 2009 to end veteran homelessness by 2015. The numbers have declined, though not at a pace to meet the president’s goal. Using an annual one-night count, the tally has fallen from 76,329 in 2010 to 62,619 in 2012.
The VA insists it will meet the goal, particularly with a program instituted in 2011 that provides community non-profit groups with cash to help keep troubled veterans in housing or get them off the streets. Expenses can cover housing costs, health care, child care, transportation and training.
Anne Murphy, a Salvation Army program director in Los Angeles, says she has helped an Army veteran of multiple combat tours who was living out of a car with his family of six to get into a hotel, and the program will allow her to help get the family a permanent place to live.
Iraq and Afghanistan vets are different from other veterans, she says.
“They’re younger, much more savvy and they don’t necessarily like to ask for help,” Murphy says. “But there are a lot of them out there.”
Funding for the new program, known as the Supportive Services for Veterans Families, has grown from $60 million in 2011 to $100 million this year and $300 million next year — or about a $5,000 investment for every homeless veteran.
Vincent Kane, director of the VA’s National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, says the program, operating through 151 community organizations in nearly every state, has had a marked effect.
About 22,000 veterans were assisted last year, most after the 2012 one-night count was done in February. They included 14,000 who were homeless and 3,035 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kane says.
“We believe this (Supportive Services) resource and partnership with our community providers is really going to help drive us to the goal of ending all (veteran) homelessness by the end of 2015,” Kane says.
Randy Brown, a spokesman for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, says the group would like nothing better than to be driven out of business and is encouraged by the VA’s efforts.
Making a transition to civilian life — readjusting to family, getting a job or education — after multiple combat tours may not come easily and could have delayed consequences. “And that’s something we’re looking at,” he says.
One night count that happens each year in King county is something that everyone who cares about your community should at least read. These people are in our community and don’t have a place to live. Now I am not going to say that all of these people don’t want to be on the street “some” of them do choose to be on the street. Most of them do not and there are more and more each year showing up on the streets.
More and more of our local community are stepping up and helping with donations.
The French American School of Puget Sound have a class that are going to put on a drive for us for “Hygiene Kits”. They are asking for things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, face towels, etc. and the kids are going to put together much needed “Hygiene Kits” for us to give to the homeless guys and gals on our event Thanksgiving Day.
And a big thanks to Trident Seafood for donating approx. 50 pairs of boots. As we all know the Seattle winters can be very wet and these are the same type of boot that the fishermen wear on the boats so we know the homeless will love them.
We just want to again thank everyone that has contacted us to help make this 2012 event the best yet!