You are here

Real Change News

Subscribe to Real Change News feed
Updated: 2 hours 21 min ago

Taking account

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 15:08

More than 3,000 households attained or maintained housing in the first three months of 2018, according to a report by the Human Services Department delivered to a council committee in June.

The number represents a nearly 245 percent increase over the same period in 2017. It includes 221 households that were prevented from entering the homelessness emergency services system through prevention efforts.

Lived his own reality

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 14:56

Long stringy grey hair,
scrawny legs, pin cushion feet,
booze to sustain him

Kept to a small room
TV flickered, thoughts wandered,
wan eyes unseeing

He beat odds, fifty
years abusing his body, worn mind diminished

Till bad decisions
ended in eviction one
day after Christmas

Fear’s grip pierced the fog,
frantic calls to friends, doctors
finding place takes time

Friend’s home for two days,
couch a few more, some nights in
shelters that had space

The royal wedding sparked urgent conversation on homelessness

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 14:37

When Harry and Meghan announced their nuptials would take place in Windsor, with tens of thousands of tourists and well-wishers expected to descend on the quaint Thameside town for the occasion, the last thing anyone anticipated was a right royal row over homelessness.

Vendor Profile: Vernon Cormier

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 13:05

When Vernon Cormier’s voice fills the room, those who stop what they’re doing to listen are gifted some combination of flattery and laughter.

Vernon describes himself as “a humorist and a loyalist.” A vendor for nearly five years, he explains that it was nothing other than “real change” that led him to Real Change.

We want to hear your #SeaHomeless questions

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00
#SeaHomeless is a joint effort with several media outlets spotlighting homelessness

Structural inequities compounded by decades of disinvestment by the federal government have resulted in a crisis on the streets of Seattle and so many cities along the West Coast. Our friends, family and neighbors who were secure one moment find themselves struggling to get by in the next. Those facing severe mental and physical health problems do so in the richest country in the world that manages to spend twice as much as its peer countries and provide less care.

Things feel stuck, and it seems that frustration is growing.

Real Change vendors join the #SeaHomeless conversation with their own solutions for how to solve homelessness

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

It is impossible to ignore homelessness in Seattle. Just take a stroll downtown. One can’t turn a blind eye to this situation, and it’s important to know that homelessness is not a choice, nor is it a self-inflicted circumstance. The faster Seattle accepts this, the faster we start creating solutions.

If you collect enough string theory you can tie yourself up in knots

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

I became a mathematician because I despise knots. Mathematicians like to study knots to death. To death.
I’m just guessing here, but I’ll bet most people don’t hate knots and knotting phenomena as much as I do.

Every time I see a knot I have an irresistible urge to untie it, or in the immortal words of my father, make it “straighten up and fly right.”

The Middle Ground by Sam Day 7/18/18

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

Contact Sam Day at


Book Review: ‘Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor’

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00
‘Automating Inequality’ by Virginia Eubanks shows how technology is stacked against the marginalized

When politicians and business leaders talk about using technology to streamline service provision to the poor, they conjure up an efficient, values-free process. Helping homeless people might become like Airbnb, where shelter and subsidized housing are matched with available spaces. Assistance for the poor might bypass all the cumbersome application forms and waiting times. Risk assessments could identify children at risk of abuse before the abuse happens.

Artist confronts White womanhood in gallery show

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

“Reflections — Heather Marie Scholl” at Virago Gallery in West Seattle addresses a group that is under increased scrutiny — White women. Scholl’s fiber art works are in line with conversations happening within social justice, anti-racism and feminist circles — specifically, how White women uphold White supremacy.

Real Change unveils ‘The Undercaste,’ a new podcast

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

Seattle media outlets selected July 19 to flood the airwaves, print and online news spaces with content focused on a single issue: homelessness.

Real Change, as an organization, wondered where we fit in.

A place to rest their tires

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

Critics of the nearly 10,000 dockless bicycles scattered around the city decry the amount of space that they take up in public sidewalks and other places. A new analysis by the Research Institute for Housing America suggests if folks want to target the real space hogs, they need look no further than cars.

Homeless people seeking a way inside face hurdles and locked doors

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

James Belanger made camp, as he had most nights, under a slight overhang, his belongings pressed neatly between himself and a wall.

Belanger refers to himself as one of the “forced homeless,” people who want to come inside, who work to find a place, who try to jump through all of the hoops only to have someone yank one upward, tripping him at the last minute.

“In late January, I got a Section 8 voucher,” he began, and then saw the look on this reporter’s face.

“Everyone’s eyes light up like that,” Belanger said. “Like it’s gold.”

King County Metro needs to do better at accommodating riders in wheelchairs

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

I’m a Real Change vendor. I get around in a wheelchair. My wheelchair and I — and previously my late service dog Laya — get around by mass transportation, usually on a Metro bus. That is, when we can get on the bus.

It happens maybe two or three times a week. The driver will tell me the bus is too crowded to let me on, and just close the doors and drive off. I had a driver last week just turn around to his passengers and say, “Hey, does anybody want to move?” Nobody spoke up, so he closed the doors and drove off, too.

Editor's Corner: Change begins with connection

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 04:00

Meeting with a colleague recently, we shared the overriding experience of helplessness we both feel. They work in direct services, I work in journalism, but we shared the sense that there was a lot more we needed to be doing and that what we have to offer simply isn’t enough.

It’s a hard feeling to have as I announce that I am leaving Real Change. I started out as a reporter in November of 2011 and eventually became editor.

Seattle Art Museum showcases Native artists and shines a critical light on the legacy of photographer Edward S. Curtis

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 04:00

In Lushootseed and in English, the voice of Angela greets visitors to “Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson.” Angela is Snoqualmie and she lets everyone know they are on the homeland of Coast Salish people who are from tribes with familiar names, such as Duwamish, Suquamish, Muckleshoot and Tulalip. It’s an important reminder that Native people inhabited the land first.

A Clues

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 04:00

If I write a line for you
What would be your clue?
Would you ask is it really true?
What should we do? We ask of you
We could watch and be true
And watch you be so blue
I’ll say, “But it is for you”
“We don’t know” is it really true?
For you, for me, for the clue
What clue are you giving?
The one of living


Check out the full July 11 - July 17 issue.

Vendor Profile: Glenn Coles

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 04:00

Glenn Coles came to Seattle from Chicago to make a new start. “There was nothing there — a lot of painful memories, a lot of pain, a lot of people I hurt, especially me. I walked away from a lot of stuff. Vehicle. Residence. I came here homeless.”

“I got divorced in 2016 after 32 years. We have four sons. I hurt Mom, so they had issues with me. Alcohol was my best friend. I’m in a place now where you can’t drink — a clean and sober environment.”

Where are the prophets?

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

At our borders, toddlers are locked in cages.

In our courtrooms, children are left to defend themselves.

In Seattle, we are building a new jail to incarcerate youth.

In times like these, I turn to the prophets. But where are they?

First, let’s clarify a common misconception. Prophets are not fortune-tellers.

Prophets are truth-tellers.

The Hebrew prophets boldly confronted the ruling class with harsh truths, usually about social justice.

Your future is looking mighty bright — if you’re a robot that can do algebra

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 04:00
Real Change columnist

I’ve never been a big fan of schools and schooling. I recall there were about 12 years in which boring adults talked at me and expected me to read things and answer questions. Compare and contrast this and that, they said. Write a 500-word essay about this thing you don’t care about, they said.

There was a singular moment of clarity in third grade. I had lived in New England for four years, but moved away, and was given a school book to read in the new school that said “New England has maple trees.”