Seahawks win at San Francisco for first time since 2008

Rally held to call attention to homelessness, seek more help

SEATTLE — Community members came together in Westlake Park Tuesday night to raise awareness about the homeless issue in King County.

You can’t tell Amelia Gustafson is homeless by looking at her.

“I look like a college student, I carry a backpack, and people don’t really treat me like I’m homeless,” she said.

BZehCDwCQAAzsWpBut after leaving a tough family situation, she ended up on the streets. She met a lot of other people who fell on hard times after losing a job or getting a divorce.

“People don’t understand. I’ve seen people from every walk of life, from the top to the bottom, they end up homeless.”

Gustafson attended Tuesday night’s rally in Westlake Park because she wants people to see just how big a problem homelessness is in King County.

Aaron Pace said most people can’t imagine what it’s like to have no place to go.

“It’s really rough,” he said. “You do anything you can to stay warm, ride a bus around for a while, sit inside a mall until they kick you out.”

Earlier this year, he got into a transitional housing program at SHARE.

“For the first time in my life, SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort) has made me feel like I’m where I belong.”

But he said there aren’t enough shelters for all the people who need help. That’s why tomorrow he’s going to join in a march to City Hall, to pressure the Committee to End Homelessness in King County to take some definitive action.

“More money and resources should be given not just to SHARE, but WHEEL (Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League) and all the homeless services that are offered in King County,” he said.

“There needs to be a lot more funding for shelters,” added Gustafson. “There are things being done right now, but we just need more funding.”

This will be an issue the City Council will have to face in the upcoming year. Presumptive City Council member Kshama Sawant was supposed to speak at the rally, but she got the flu,  City Councilman Nick Licata stepped in.

“No one should be found on the streets. I’m there with you to make sure it gets done,” he said.

Gustafson hopes lawmakers will step up. She also hopes people will be kinder to the homeless, since we don’t know why they ended up where they are.

“Let’s be a community, let’s not treat them like they’re just nothing.”

A march from Westlake Park to City Hall will begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday, so drivers may want to avoid the area.

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5 comments

  • Kit

    The city/county can't afford to fund housing for the homeless and cut the Metro bus service at the same time. Many homeless people have mental and drug problems, so they don't fit in –no matter what we do for them.

  • ?¿?¿?

    There's no way to end homelessness. Once you solve their problem the lazy people that are scraping by will see they too can have their problem solved by someone else and overwhelm the system even worse when they chime in for a free ride.
    How do you help the ones that need it and filter out the lazy ones that gobble up the resources at the same time?

  • bill k.

    Its amazing how people have no problem funding 750 MILLION for a basketball arena for a team who NEVER EVER WON IN THE PAST but cant see to help humans have a room to live inside. SHARE , WHEEL ARE A SCAM HOWEVER. THE PEOPLE RUNNING THE PROGRAMS POCCET HUGE AMOUNTS OF THE MONEY DONATED AND F O R C E PEOPLE IN THIER SHELTERS TO PARTICIPATE IN PROTESTS IF THIER DEMANDS FOR MORE MONEY TO STEAL ARE NOT MET. HOWEVER THAT STILL DOES NOT MEAN BUILD NEARLY A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR ARENA WHEM THOUSANDS HAVE NO SAFE PLACE TO SLEEP OR ENOUGH TO EAT.

  • Buzz

    The homeless people in my area are substance abusers that wander around the park drinking beer and smoking. I think I've talked to the same type of homeless person over the last 40 years. It's like they went to the Woodstock Rock Festival and kept getting buzzed everyday. They get money from the state because they have made themselves disabled and then panhandle for booze and cigarettes.

    • Bill Ketchersid

      Its easier to get comfort or numbness from a nintynine cent beer then to find first last and deposit For an appartment. Housing lusts Iin seattle are one to three years wait, even a month homeless feels like a year. It doesnt matter WHAT THEY DO EVERYONE DESERVES A ROOM OF THUER OWN.