If you’re not of the digital news generation, you probably read the newspaper at least a few days every week. I’ve never had a subscription to a newspaper, and I only ever encounter print news when I go to my mom’s house. I do, however, follow dozens of blogs and have a Google News Feed set up to alert me when news stories are released that are of interest to me.
So when I got into the office Monday, and checked my news feed, my “Seattle–Homeless” section was headed by this article from the Seattle Times. (If you don’t click through, the article is about budget changes in the City of Seattle that are altering the distribution of city funding for hygiene services for people experiencing homelessness.) Any of you who read the paper on Sunday mornings have already seen this. Old news, right?
As with almost all budgetary decisions at any level of government, there are questions about who benefits, where the money is coming from, where the money is going to, and why we can’t just increase funding across the board.
I don’t know enough about the budgeting process in the City to take a side about whether or not the changes should have been made. I do know three things, however:
- Hygiene services are a very important part of the network of human services in a city like Seattle. A shower and clean clothes seem like nothing to those of us who are housed, but it can be vital for our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. Not only is access to hygiene services essential for seeking employment and housing,
- It also makes a huge difference in emotional well-being, physical health, and confidence of a person experiencing homelessness.
- I also believe that everybody involved in this process is acting in good faith. While some commentators might (and do) take sides as to whether funding should have been redistributed, cut, or increased across the board, it is in my nature to trust that everyone is doing their best to serve those in need. Whether that be the City, trying to distribute funds as effectively as possible, or the agencies like Mary’s Place and Urban Rest Stop, doing their best with limited resources to serve as many individuals and families as possible in the most caring and humane way they can…I believe everyone has the same end goal of alleviating some of the suffering and aiding those on the long road out of homelessness.
Those are my three cents. What do you think?