In a recent successful budget advocacy effort to increase resources to address homelessness in Seattle and King County, Real Change, a street newspaper and homeless advocacy organization, brought the One Night Count to life with powerful audio and visual demonstrations that engaged the people of Seattle and helped inspire the decision-makers to take action.
In comparison, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness’ January 24, 2014 One Night Count identified 3,123 people without shelter, a 14% increase from the 2013 count. In response to this finding:
“Real Change launched the OutsideIN campaign to pursue additional investment in resources for shelter and human services.” Events in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington kicked off the campaign. “ … Community members, advocates, and elected officials sounded a gong 3,123 times, once for each person counted outside without shelter.”
“In May 2014, to highlight the launch of the OutsideIN Petition to ‘Make 1,000 Safe by 2015’, the campaign’s policy platform, the advocates returned to (Seattle’s) Westlake Park with 3,123 pairs of shoes. The public display was an astounding sight, especially in the bustling shopping district that abuts the park. As people stopped to look at the massive display of shoes, OutsideIN campaign supporters acted as curators, explaining the significance of the shoes and asking people to take action by signing an online petition. With laptops at the ready, curators gathered 859 signatures by day’s end.”
“By September 2014, OutsideIN campaign volunteers had collected 5,022 signatures online and on paper calling for additional investment of resources in shelter and human services to meet the growing unmet need in the city and county. On October 22, advocates delivered the petition to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and to Director of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County Mark Putnam during a committee governing board meeting.”
“The following day, Real Change set up the 3,123 pairs of shoes on Seattle City Hall Plaza during the City Council Public Budget Hearing and delivered the petition to City Council. Shoes lined the staircase into City Hall and were visible from inside windows near Council Chambers, as more than a hundred community members and human service advocates gave testimony to City Council in support of increased investment in resources to address homelessness and other human service needs. The action made the front page of the Seattle Times and the result of the campaign was a resounding victory: The City of Seattle budget included an increase of $1.2 million in funds for homeless services!!””