Food, housing, and social services for those in need

People who are homeless in Eastlake are as much a part of our community as anyone with a home. In recent years, more homeless people are noticeable in or near the Eastlake neighborhood. In part this is because of the economic downturn, and in part because of efforts to discourage them downtown and in the South Lake Union area.

According to City officials, about half of the families served by Seattle shelters in 2012 had permanent addresses outside Seattle. Yet other cities and the county have not stepped up to offer their share of shelter beds and social services. The City is working to convince cities, King County, and the state to pay their fair share for the homeless who, because of Seattle’s generosity, come to us from these jurisdictions.

The Eastlake Community Council welcomes your ideas on how best to address the increased homelessness in our midst. Please send your ideas and questions to info@eastakeseattle.org. Below is an article about a memorial service for one of Eastlake’s longest-residing homeless citizens. After that is a listing of some food, housing, and social services available for those in need.

Memorial service in honor of Dahlbert Conrad George is Wed., April 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at TOPS-Seward School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E. in Seattle A memorial service will be held in honor of Dahlbert Conrad George on Wed., April 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at TOPS-Seward School, 2500 Franklin Ave. E. in Seattle. There will be an open microphone period for anyone to speak who knew him or wishes to honor him.

Dahlbert George, a beloved and respected Eastlaker, died of aspiration pneumonia on November 28, 2014 at the age of 60. He was born November 18, 1954 on the Ahousaht Reserve; the Ahousaht are the most populous First Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada). As a child, Dahlbert moved with his family to Vashon Island (Washington, United States). He spent many years working at Tillicum Village on nearby Blake Island, telling traditional stories, doing traditional dances, baking salmon, etc.

According to his own account (see below), Dahlbert George struggled throughout his life with drug and alcohol addiction, and was homeless after 1982 except for brief periods (one of which being a little over four months in 2013 at the Pat Williams Apartments, managed by the Plymouth Housing Group). After 1992 he adopted Eastlake as his home. The Eastlake Community Council does not believe that a memorial service has yet been held for Dahlbert George; when we proposed to TOPS-Seward School a jointly sponsored memorial service, the school readily agreed.

A photo and caption about Dahlbert George appears on page 16 of the spring 2015 Eastlake News (link is in column at right). A more detailed article about him will appear in the summer 2015 issue. Please send along any stories or other information or photos for possible background or use in the memorial article, to info@eastlakeseattle.org, or c/o ECC at 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle, WA 98102, or call 206-322-5463. Dahlbert was an artist and was writing a book; anyone with examples of his work or advice on where to find them is also encouraged to contact us. We hope that his writings have not been lost.

Needed urgently: (1) someone to video record the event; (2) someone with a sound mixer to help operate the sound system and link it to the video recorder; (3) someone to set up a memorial web site or Facebook page; and (4) your help in publicizing this event to those who wish to join us in honoring the memory of Dahlbert George.

Dahlbert George briefly discusses his personal story in a video by one of the nonprofit organizations that helped him. A photo essay about him (using the pseudonym of Richard) by another nonprofit is available by clicking here.

University District Food Bank 1413 NE 50th Street (udistrictfoodbank.org, 206-523-7060). Provides free and nutritious food to anyone who is hungry and resides in Eastlake’s zip code, 98102, or in the other northeast Seattle zip codes (98103, 98105, 98112, 98115, 98125). It is located in the University Christian Church at 1413 NE 50th Street (on NE 50th just downhill from the corner of 15th Avenue NE) and is open Monday through Friday. Users may receive groceries once per week and are asked (waived for homeless persons) to show a photo I.D. and current proof of address (mail received at the address within the past 30 days, rent receipt, utility bill, cable bill, etc.). Each week, 1,100 families receive groceries, totaling last year almost 55,000 customer visits and over 2.3 million pounds of food. The University District Food Bank is supported by individuals, churches, government, and many local businesses. Over 80% of the food is donated to the Food Bank, and it must purchase the rest. See end of this section for information about how you can join other Eastlake residents and businesses in donating cash and in-kind to help the work of the University District food Bank.

University District Urban Rest Stop 1415 43rd Ave. NE (urbanreststop.org). Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. A clean, safe and welcoming facility where individuals and families can use restrooms, shower and laundry facilities. Services are provided at no cost to patrons. A larger facility with expanded hours is downtown at 1924 Ninth Avenue.

University Friends Meeting Homeless Ministry, 4001 9th Avenue NE (scn.org/friends/ufm). The Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) contracts with SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, a self-managed program operating shelters throughout greater Seattle) for up to 20 men to sleep nightly in the Worship Room and use an outdoor snacking/smoking area. Residents use the downstairs restrooms and have storage for mats and blankets. They arrive after 8 p.m. and depart by 8 a.m. SHARE screens all residents, provides sleeping mats and blankets, and enforces rules of conduct that include no drugs, alcohol or weapons.
UFM reports being enriched by opportunities for fellowship with shelter participants including Thanksgiving Day breakfasts and dinners and other potluck meals, Sunday worship services, community work parties, and on-campus retreats. Friends have knitted winter caps, provide goody-filled gift bags for the holidays, and hold fundraisers for SHARE including a music concert, a movie series on homeless issues and a bake sale and dance. UFM members work to help group participants move on from the shelter for employment and more permanent housing opportunities.

1811 Eastlake Ave (http://www.desc.org/1811) Operated by the Downtown Emergency Services Center, providing supportive housing to 75 formally homeless men and women with chronic alcohol addiction; residents are allowed to drink in their rooms, and research suggests that their alcohol consumption is less than when they are homeless. (Note that addresses in our Eastlake neighborhood have “East” at the end, whereas 1811 Eastlake Avenue is a downtown address that is more than a mile south, near where Eastlake Avenue terminates at Stewart Street).

For more information Dial 211 hotline (8 a.m.-6 p.m. M-F) for services such as for emergency shelter or emotional or mental health issues.

Please donate funds and in-kind items to the University District Food Bank In recent years the Eastlake Community Council has sponsored a holiday drive for the Food Bank, and throughout the year ECC also encourages cash donations. “Fight Hunger, Build Hope” is the University District Food Bank’s capital campaign to expand from its cramped 800 square feet basement to a more visible location near the corner of NE Roosevelt Way and 50th St. NE. The new 6,500 square foot facility will include much-expanded cold storage and preparation space to accept more in-kind, especially perishables that are often the most nutritious. There will be more space for the Food Bank’s award-winning grocery store model; long-awaited ADA accessibility for the disabled and elderly who often need assistance, and at last a dry and warm waiting area and a dignified space for receiving confidential assistance and support. You can donate at www.udistrictfoodbank.org. Also, checks made out to UDFC/Capital Campaign may be hand delivered or mailed to ECC c/o Lake Union Mail, 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle, WA 98102-3278. Thanks for helping the less fortunate!

About ECC and how to get involved

Neighborhood resources

Social media and blogs

Emergencies, public safety, and government