Striking Contrast in Homelessness from Sequim to Seattle
May 3, 2012 • Jordan Daracunas, reporter
Filed under Opinion
In the evening I walked the busy streets of Seattle on my way back from a long day of hanging out in the city with some classmates for a Journalism convention. As I stood in the receding crowds, something very strange caught my eye. Under the glare of a street lamp, a young man sat playing on a drum set. It was made of empty glass bottles and honestly sounded quite good. He didn’t even have a shirt on, but it had been a warm day so I just dismissed this from my mind.
Later the next day I noticed a group of people, mainly middle-aged women with expressionless faces. They seemed out of place by the sidelines in a city roaring with activity where everyone seems to be entertained. I proceeded to walk by more similar looking adults. Some pushing carts, others carrying bottles in paper bags. A man approached me and asked for a dollar. Soon after I realized that all these alienated and depressed looking people weren’t just bored, they were homeless.
Things like unemployment and homelessness exist everywhere but in bigger cities like Seattle they are strikingly more apparent. It is true that some of these people are scary at a glance, some are even crazy or on drugs. To me, the majority of homeless people didn’t seem mentally ill, they just looked hungry.
The unemployment rate in the Seattle area was at a record high of 10.1% in 2010. It has not been lower than 3.5% since 1990. There are things like shelters and welfare programs to help the less fortunate get back on their feet, but Seattle simply does not have the resources to accommodate everyone. It is a very terrible thought that there are people in America who go hungry and are without means of self-support.
I don’t see this as a hopeless issue, but it will be if those influential members of our society stop working to develop more jobs and humanitarian movements in our country. I understand it’s hard to know where to start first. Everyone can volunteer in their community. Next time you want to make a difference whether it’s working at a homeless shelter or just giving a stranger a few dollars, just think of how far you would go to get warm meal. Checkout the address below for more information!