Helping the Homeless

Countless organizations give back to cities and citizens around the world. Drawn to Cities endeavors to help raise awareness of non-profit organizations which focus on improving city life by sharing the work they do.

In the USA, it is estimated that 1 in 45 children experience homeless each year (Family Homelessness). Many people across the USA are without shelter or basic needs. Three organizations are making a difference for the everyday lives of people who are homeless by raising awareness of their situations and stories, as well as providing basic services and shelter. 

Mary's Place 

Mary's Place provides safe accommodation, respite and food to homeless (and formerly homeless) women and their children in Seattle. Mary's Place operates 3 night shelters and a day center for those most need. Their contribution to improving city life is inspiring: last year they provided 23,025 nights of emergency shelter to people in Seattle. 

"Mary's Place empowers and equips women with the tools to move out of homelessness. We begin by meeting women where they are, providing for basic needs including safety, day and night shelter, nutritious hot meals, showers, laundry, and clean clothing. We provide resources and referrals to social services, medical care, legal and financial aid, shelter, housing, and employment" (Mary's Place).

Their winter mission is to ensure no child sleeps outside in Seattle. Devastatingly, over 550 families sleep outside every night in Seattle's cold. They sought to raise over $250,000 to open a crisis response night shelter to accommodate families over the winter - and successfully raised $300,000 so far. 

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Urban Rest Stop

The Urban Rest Stop is a program by the Low Income Housing Institute which offers a clean and welcoming environment for people who are homeless to use bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities for free.

"The URS is the only Seattle-area hygiene facility with extended services hours specifically designed to assist homeless persons who are working or seeking a job" (Urban Rest Stop).

At present, there are two Urban Rest Stops which are open daily, one in downtown Seattle and one in the U-District, with another due to open in Ballard in 2015. Visitors are also provided with free toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, shampoo and soap, and are able to borrow overalls to wear whilst they wash their clothes. In addition, the Urban Rest Stop assists with information and referrals for other services. 

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Facing Homelessness / Homeless in Seattle 

Facing Homelessness is a non-profit organization which uses its Homeless in Seattle social media accounts to raise awareness about the experiences of homeless people by sharing their photos and stories. Through this process, the organization hopes to change the negative perceptions of homeless people by showing the beauty of each person. Homeless in Seattle requests donations for clothing, food and money for accommodation or medical supplies which are provided directly for the homeless person whose story they have shared. The story of why Rex Hohlbein founded Homeless in Seattle is extremely touching - you can see him describe the story in his TEDxRainier presentation here.  

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