Like many West Coast cities, Seattle is facing a homelessness crisis with nearly 2,900 people living unsheltered on city streets. To address this crisis, Mayor Ed Murray declared a civil state of emergency and recently launched the City’s long-term plan to transform the homelessness delivery system, Pathways Home. Despite these efforts, the number of people without shelter continues to climb. The people of Seattle and organizations that have benefited from and contributed to Seattle growth cannot ignore the personal stories of tragedy and triumph behind these staggering statistics. That is why our team is excited to work with Artefact, to address this urgent community issue. We have challenged Artefact to help identify actionable opportunities to help one of the most underserved segments of the homeless population: homeless and at-risk youth and young adults.
Many homeless and at-risk youth face staggering challenges and insecurity. These issues are often compounded by the fact that many available services are part of a complex, difficult to navigate system. The goal of our partnership is to identify actionable opportunities to prevent and intervene in youth homelessness, as well as create mechanisms for members of the community – from city outreach workers and non-profits, to schools, businesses and faith-based organizations – to collaborate in the efforts to solve the homelessness crisis.
“Addressing homeless will require coordination and collaboration from all of us, including educators, nonprofit organizations, faith communities and the local businesses,” says Tina Walha, Director of Seattle Mayor’s Office Innovation Team. “I’m excited to work with Artefact on this important issue. The infusion of new ideas and innovative approaches will undoubtedly help the City address this crisis and ensure that when instances of homelessness do occur, they are rare, brief and one-time.”
Artefact’s co-founder and joint CEO, Rob Girling adds: “Homeless and at-risk youth are among the most underserved populations in our growing city. The opportunity to improve their lives is in perfect alignment with our passion and commitment to create a better future through design.”
Over the next few weeks, an interdisciplinary team of Artefact researchers and strategists, designers and developers, together with our i-team will work to zero in on opportunity areas where we can have tangible and immediate impact on the future of homeless and at-risk youth. As part of the project, we will seek to engage with other organizations who are interested in addressing the homelessness crisis.
Stay tuned for updates!