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Many people have asked me “What do you think of ‘Seattle is Dying’?”, a video documentary by Eric Johnson, released by KOMO News on March 14, 2019. The documentary, like the title, is gripping and intense. Johnson takes an in-depth look at homelessness in Seattle – what it looks like and what is causing homelessness to reach crisis levels.
The video documentary is on target with the assessments that my staff conduct day in and day out, as we have face to face conversations with the homeless here in Orange County. Currently an average of 61% of those coming to apply for one of our programs self-identify as having a substance addiction, and 37% self-identify as having a mental health issue.
“Seattle is Dying” is admittedly “harsh”, says Johnson. But he feels when viewing the city through the lens of the homeless crisis, it is true. The video is the third in a series of three that take a three year look at the homeless situation in Seattle, from the view of the homeless people themselves and others who also call Seattle home.
And much like the communications of Orange County Rescue Mission, these videos give an honest look at the homeless crisis, the complexities, how it is rooted in something much deeper than the mere lack of shelter, and attempts to begin to answer why it is growing throughout our nation. (To view the video, go to https://komonews.com/news/local/komo-news-special-seattle-is-dying.)
But why would I write about a video in Seattle? Because, as Doug McIntyre noted in his May 11, 2019 opinion article in the OC Register, “What if we cross out “Seattle” and pencil in L.A, Anaheim, Santa Ana or pretty much Everytown, U.S.A.? What if we ask, ‘Is Los Angeles Dying?’ Or ‘Is Fill-In-The-Blank Dying?’ ” (Find McIntyre’s article, “The Cruelty of Compassion Without Consequences” at https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/11/the-cruelty-of-compassion-without-consequences/ .)
If you have followed my blog, you would know that I am passionate about the cause of “ending homelessness, one life at a time”, as we say at Orange County Rescue Mission. My team and I have worked for over 25 years to create and offer real and proven solutions to end homelessness on an individual and family level. We do this by not just treating the symptom of homelessness, but by helping the homeless get to and resolve the issues that caused their homelessness.
I invite you to click to learn more about Orange County Rescue Mission.