Reciprocity: Seattle's Housed Community Hosts a Network of Villages for Seattle's Unhoused Families
Jenkins, Heather Reynolds
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King County and the City of Seattle have been unable to reach their ten-year 2015 challenge to end homelessness; instead the rate of homelessness has increased 21% in the last year alone. Despite the difficulties in resolving homelessness here, other places faced with a similar homeless situation have been able to achieve much better results. Salt Lake City, through employing a Housing First program, has reduced chronic homelessness by 98%. Needy people are placed immediately into housing with the Housing First program, instead of having to resolve issues and qualify for housing, as in more traditional homeless housing programs. Inspired by the success experienced in Utah, this thesis proposes a plan to specifically help homeless families in Seattle by installing temporary, modular, pop-up housing, interspersed throughout the neighborhoods of the city. This infusion of small living units will house families rapidly, reducing the amount of time they wait to find shelter. Neighborhood site locations not only offer the resources necessary to nurture healthy families, such as grocery stores, medical clinics, schools, community centers, friends and playgrounds, but also the chance to grow a supportive social network. This network, often missing in the lives of the homeless becomes a safety net that is vital in their successful transition to a healthier life. A hosting neighborhood gets the chance to establish friendships, offer mentorship and social support to struggling families through shared daily community activities. A large community space within the village can host neighborhood events and social service agency activities creating a place where homeless families find not only emergency shelter, but a way to successfully emerge from homelessness.
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