Homelessness is a growing concern in the Pierce County area, with 50 known encampments. As highlighted in current research, homeless people often struggle with untreated behavioral health needs such as addiction and depression. Yet our county falls short in meeting the needs of our most vulnerable.
Yes, care has improved in recent years regarding police education, crisis response and rapid intake points. But access to services is only the first step. Many individuals get stuck in a revolving door of service engagement but no access to long-term support.
Imagine yourself as a 20-year-old homeless, drug -addicted woman who finally seeks help and completes treatment only to find she has no money, so no housing. Under the current system, gaining funds for housing requires a person to be “street homeless” and apply for help after leaving services.
This problem can be solved by expanding access to those who are being discharged from care programs, allowing entry to safe housing at their most vulnerable time.