His wardrobe is humdrum, his speech informal, and reason for running ad hoc. His name is Eric Smiley. You may have met him at a bus stop or in the tunnel stations, because that’s how he’s trying to compete with the large sums of campaign money backing other councilmember candidates.
But he also just wants to hear what Seattleites are concerned about. There’s one thing distinctly unique about Smiley, however. He is homeless, and has been for three years.
Bolen called homelessness a disease, but that’s not a reason to stereotype. Homelessness impacts people in nearly every aspect of their life, especially the parts many take for granted every day.
“I wanted to take my shoes off and my pants off and just walk around in my underwear,” Bolen said, getting a few laughs from the class as he chuckled himself, “because you don’t have that luxury when you’re homeless.”
Approximately 15 people gathered in the University Congregational Church on Wednesday morning to discuss homelessness and mobilization for homeless services and affordable housing.
A very tall man wearing sweats, a black UW sweatshirt, and a beanie sat in the back. He goes by Bryan, and didn’t want to be identified in this article given his current situation.
Bryan just recently became homeless, and is still dealing with the life-altering shock of what that means in his mind. Right now he’s living in the recently moved Tent City 3, which now sits on the UW Seattle campus in parking lot W35. The area can host up to 99 people.
“I’m three weeks in,” Bryan said of being homeless. “It just happened. We had plans, and it fell through last minute.”
He recounted a housing situation that left him and his girlfriend living in a box truck they had bought for moving.
One man’s story shows how mental health treatment is an uphill battle in jails and prisons
Hayes’ jail medical records, obtained with consent, paint a picture of unmedicated struggles within a jail system that’s overworked. A place that is often viewed as rehabilitative is in fact not.
Near the post office on University Way Northeast, everything was basking in the sun’s morning glow. And on a street corner there, a man stood.
He was wearing denim blue jeans, a black beanie and a black jacket. Next to him was what looked like a stumpy silver cart full of paper stacks, but organized.
As people walked by, he would look at them, holding out his paper. For a few, he would talk.
Whenever the man wasn’t smiling, his eyes seemed to smile instead. He talked in a way that seemed to care, even if but for the sake of conversation. His name is Yemane Berhe.
It’s winter, and a man is curled up in a street corner. The rain soaked the cardboard boxes he managed to grab for refuge. He’s cold. There were no blankets left in the shelters today, and the last one he got is a shredded mess now. Sleeping bags are the equivalent of three days’ meals, if you’re smart enough. He can’t afford warmth over food at this point. But off in the distance, a crowd of strangers are making their way to him. They have sleeping bags.
They’re volunteers from Sleepless in Seattle.
This is the first of a three-part series analyzing last week’s reports on Seattle’s homelessness crisis coming from City Hall. This week looks at Barbara Poppe’s recommendations (70 pages long), next week will look closer at Focus Strategies’ data findings (134 pages), and the following week will hone in on the Pathways […]