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Hang on to your hats folks - here come the holidays with its frantic hordes of shoppers and UPS trucks careening around the neighborhood. There are Postal workers hauling mail stuffed with flyers and coupons for things that we don’t need now, but then, we might need later. There are plans to make, parties to attend.
Beyond obligations for home and family there is school to attend to and jobs. The days are too short even without the curtain of darkness that seems to fall earlier and earlier. So how is it then that so many manage to volunteer both their time and talent to help others?
They help because there is so much need.
Tomorrow there will be people from Mercer Island back out on the streets of Seattle and on the Eastside, serving meals, hauling around blankets and clothing or visiting with people and families who are in need.
Each year the number of people without home and hearth, grows.
The 33rd annual ‘One Night Count’ of homeless people in King County took place in the early hours of January 25, this year. The Seattle-King County Coalition on Homelessness organized more than 800 volunteers who fanned out across the county to count the number of men, women and children who were sleeping outdoors without shelter between 2 and 5 a.m. They counted people trying to survive in cars and tents, riding late night buses, or curled up in blankets under bridges or in doorways.
More than 2,700 men, women, and children were counted without shelter during count — an increase of five percent over those found without shelter last year. The number is probably low, because organizers cannot count everywhere, and because many people take great care not to be visible.
So it is without any surprise that we find that Real Change, the newspaper that advocates for the homeless, has come to King County’s Eastside. For here, in what used to be a sylvan suburban area far removed from the much grittier neighborhoods of central Seattle, there is a growing and often invisible number of men, women and yes, children who need help.