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Councilmember Lewis Shows JustCARE Model Successful in Voluntarily Moving Homeless Neighbors to Appropriate Shelter

Seattle, WA — Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (District 7 – Pioneer Square to Magnolia) joined with representatives the Downtown Seattle Alliance (DSA), JustCARE, the Alliance for Pioneer Square, and small business owners to provide an update about the team effort combining workers from REACH/Evergreen Treatment Services with representatives from JustCARE, about the ways in which they have – together with a field team from CoLEAD — provided 31 individuals experiencing homelessness at the corner of 1st and Yesler, near Pergola Plaza, with appropriate shelter by JustCARE and voluntarily accepted.  

“Today — in coordination with the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), the JustCARE coalition of service providers, and the  Alliance For Pioneer Square, Wheeler Davis Safety Team, the Public Defenders Association, Evergreen Treatment Services – REACH, and small business owners of The Pastry Project — came together to accomplish two common goals: dignity, shelter and ongoing support for those experiencing homelessness, and a clear and safe area around the iconic Pergola for the entire community to enjoy.”

Lewis continued: “Of the 31 offered appropriate shelter, every single person voluntarily accepted. My philosophy has always been to govern by collaboration, not conflict.  We need more productive coalitions like this across the city, among all levels of government.  It’s only by centering everyone’s common interests that we’re going to overcome the crisis of homelessness that has dragged on for far too long.”

The JustCARE model is a team effort combining outreach workers from REACH/Evergreen Treatment Services, a field team from CoLEAD, and hotel-based teams with Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) & CoLEAD, along with the Wheeler Davis safety team to find shelter – hotel rooms, tiny homes, etc. – for people living outside and provide them with support for their basic needs.  The JustCARE alliance coordinates whenever possible with City-funded shelter options via the Human Services Department (HSD), and partners with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for debris removal when people have voluntarily left items behind when they move. 

“We must continue to move with urgency to help the most vulnerable off the streets of downtown and ensure parks and public spaces are available and accessible to all. JustCARE is a proven and compassionate approach to meeting the needs of the unsheltered and ensuring the downtown neighborhood is healthy and welcoming for all,” said Jon Scholes, Executive Director, Downtown Seattle Association (DSA). 

“As small business owners in Pioneer Square, we’re invested in this place and all the people in it,” said Emily Kim and Heather Hodge, co-founders of The Pastry Project. “The JustCARE model – understanding individual’s circumstances and providing them with what they need – is the best approach to addressing the root causes of homelessness we’ve seen yet. We’re grateful for this work and the improved wellbeing of our neighbors – housed and unhoused – our customers, and our employees.” 

Lewis is committed to working with his colleagues in City government, King County, and the Regional Homelessness Authority to continue to support the JustCARE program and any other proposals that help people with high barriers to housing get appropriate treatment and help.

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