Monday, February 22, 2016

Mental Health services are needed for Redmond's Tent City 4 homeless

SHARE/WHEEL is a non-profit that runs most of the "Tent City 4," encampments at St. Jude's Parish on Education Hill.  They run three other Tent City encampments and numerous Shelters in Puget Sound. At present Tent City 4 is not sited in Redmond.

On their website they state, "for 22 years we have been working to eradicate homelessness, educate the community and empower homeless people."

I've been an Ed Hill resident for over 30 years and live 1/4 mile from St. Jude Parish.  Based on my interactions with past Tent City 4 residents, I've learned SHARE/WHEEL has a policy of NOT directing their mentally ill residents to local mental health services. They don't even supply literature. This is not "empowering."

I can understand why SHARE/WHEEL doesn't advertise the presence of mental illness in their encampments--they don't want to alarm the community.  But that doesn't mean they can't "quietly direct" their compliant mentally ill to local resources like Hero House, county social services, and NAMI Eastside and EvergreenHealth ER/urgent care. As it is, they don't even provide them contact information.

By the looks of the City Planning Commissioners initiative to rezone Redmond encampments and enlarge their presence in our neighborhoods this is a relevant topic for Ed. Hill.

In my opinion, one of the reasons why SHARE/WHEEL is unsuccessful in obtaining 2016 funding from King County is they refuse to direct some of the 20% of their residents afflicted with poor mental health to local services.

Bob Yoder

NOTE:  This "National Coalition for the Homeless" article documents the prevalence and describes the facts of homelessness and mental illness.

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