City launches website, campaign to address homelessness

The City of Redmond is continuing its work to address homelessness in the community with a new website and campaign.

The City of Redmond is continuing its work to address homelessness in the community with a new website and campaign.

All in All Home Redmond launched earlier this month and focuses on community education and awareness.

Colleen Kelly, assistant director of community planning for the city, said the campaign started as a response to the city’s task force on homelessness, which was formed so members could come up with solutions on how to address homelessness.

She said the campaign is built around King County’s All Home initiative — which has the same focus of addressing and ending homelessness.

“It’s really a challenge for the nation,” Kelly said about homelessness, adding that it seems to be more prevalent on the West Coast, though no one knows why.

The All in All Home campaign leverages the partnership the city has with King County.

Kelly said the “All in” part of the city’s initiative is their way of including everyone in the effort.

“We’re trying to get our whole community in,” she said.

Kelly added that they are working on finding more ways for residents and community members to participate.

The new website, ness, shows people the reality of what it means to be homeless through testimonials and stories from people who are homeless and share how and why they became that way. The site also addresses the causes of homelessness, current efforts underway and encourages members of the Redmond community to be part of the solution.

The website includes information on homelessness to educate people, information on how and where people can volunteer their time and talents and how they can advocate for affordable housing or other key policies. Specific ideas are listed for landlords, employers, parents and community groups.

“The city is ‘all in’ because we’re about building community for everyone — including those who are most in need,” said Mayor John Marchione in a city press release. “Thanks to the Redmond community homelessness task force for providing the foundation for this effort.”

The task force was formed after the city hosted a meeting with residents, businesses, human services agencies and other members of the community to address homelessness. The task force worked for about four months, from April to August 2015, to come up with recommendations for the city to take into consideration.

Kelly said the All in All Home campaign came out of the task force as one of the recommendations the group gave for more education and awareness about local homelessness.

In addition to raising awareness and offering ways for people to help, Redmond’s website also has links to services for those who need it.

For anyone who knows of an organization or services they feel should be shared on the site, Kelly said they can click on a link on the website to contact the city.

The campaign’s goal, Kelly said, is to keep homelessness visible in the public eye. One of the ways the city did this was by having a booth at Derby Days earlier this month.

“We had a good initial interaction with the community,” she said.

There are also more actions the campaign plans to take in the next year or so to keep the issue on the fronts of everyone’s mind.