Want to help Seattle homelessness? Try saying ‘hello’
Kristine Moreland knows that her life could have easily gone “sideways” had there not been “consistent” people in her life. That’s why she is dedicating her life to being that person to others experiencing homelessness in Seattle, and advises you to do the same. She told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don it doesn’t need to be a lot.
“Be somebody’s constant. If you look outside your house and you see a homeless man sleeping on the side of the street, go out there, say ‘hello,” she said. “Be their constant. You have no idea what an impact you will make.”
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Instead of just complaining about homelessness, tents, and derelict RVs, Ron and Don have dedicated themselves, in 2017, to try and understand it. That means partnering with the mayor, city council or anyone who is willing. Moreland reached out to the show on Facebook to discuss her organization, the More Love Project.
The nonprofit takes part in the nightly search and rescue missions by the Union Gospel Mission, another nonprofit advocacy group, and provides other services: Providing temporary housing, bus tickets and groceries for those in need, as well as hosting the largest coat drive in the city.
Moreland knows the homeless life well, as her dad currently lives on the streets of Seattle. Don asked if that is why she became involved in advocacy.
“You know, it was why I didn’t want to do it, because I’m one of those people who hardened my heart very early on because I’m a product of homelessness but I’m on the other side,” she said. “But eventually you crack and you realize that if you want to solve the problem, you’re going to have to step up and do something.”
Moreland said the burden for social workers and other professionals in the field is daunting and community members providing a “human connection” is key.
“Our resources are full. We’re tapped out, we’re maxed out,” she said. “We shouldn’t have 4,500 people sleeping on the streets of Seattle, people sleeping in their own sewer water, garbage problems. If we had the resources we would be using those. I wouldn’t say there’s none, but I would say there’s a lack of community compassion at this moment where we have people here saying, ‘I need to do something but how do I do it? How do I connect?’”
You can listen to the full conversation here, but these are a few other highlights:
How do you get through to someone who really likes getting high? “That’s a great question. You stay committed and you stay connected, and the real reality is that you show them love. Whether that be you get down on the ground with them on the sidewalk and you hold their hand while they are shaking and vomiting, or if you consistently reach out to them so that they can make sure that they know that somebody’s there outside of the people that are giving them expectations that they just can’t do. You just stay consistent.”
On how More Love helped UGM’s Richard escape homelessness: “We were in the search and rescue van. The reality is Richard laid down that night and prayed to die, and he was brought love and he was brought a sandwich and he was brought humility, humanity and dignity that night because people laid down next to him and told him he was worth something.”
On the More Home Project: “Our intention is to provide housing to every individual living on those streets, no matter how long it takes. So we’re not stopping anytime soon.”
On rampant sex trafficking issues: “We see it on the front lines and these girls lie to us and say they are over the age of 16 but often times we’ve got 14-year-old girls out there who are being trafficked in tents, living in the Jungle — in hell. And we have people judging and not fixing this problem.”
On how to fix the problem: “You get involved. Period. … If you don’t like it, do something about it.”