starts with housing.
When there's more accessible housing, we all benefit.
What Causes Homelessness in Snohomish County?
There are not enough homes. If we want to end homelessness and housing insecurity, we need to build more housing at price points people can afford.
The nation is currently facing one of the most severe affordable housing crises in history. Not surprisingly, those living in poverty are the most significantly affected. Snohomish County is no different.
In the 1970s, communities had plenty of affordable housing. That meant that when a family or individual experienced a crisis and lost housing, they could quickly find another place to live. But by the mid-1980s, the supply of low-cost housing diminished significantly. Since then, rents have continued to rise, and lower-income people have experienced slow or stagnant wage growth.
We know from our collective work that when we can house people, we are able to connect them to services that help reduce the barriers related to unemployment, domestic violence, medical and other debt, addiction, and behavioral health issues. We also know that communities of color experience homelessness at higher rates in our community. The data supports a housing first model.
Families and individuals working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to meet minimum standards given the local cost of living. The Living Wage Calculator estimates the cost of living in a community or region based on typical expenses. The tool helps individuals, communities, and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living. TRY IT!
What is Common Cause: Housing?
We're a collaboration of nonprofit organizations and key community stakeholders whose shared missions are to end homelessness in Snohomish County with a focus on housing.
We're creating a public education campaign to empower everyday citizens in becoming housing champions alongside local leadership. Our goal is for people to understand the grave need for a variety of housing solutions in Snohomish County.
We know through our work that when there is a diverse and plentiful housing, homelessness declines significantly. We hope you join us in this effort to make Snohomish County a more livable and affordable place for all our community members.
In 2020, 73% of very low income ($53k/yr. or less) households had NO form of housing assistance available to them.
Interested in supporting affordable housing in Snohomish County? Sign our pledge!
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"In cases of domestic violence, “victims” leave their homes to find safety for their family, leaving them homeless. Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County (DVSSC) offers a 52-bed confidential emergency shelter for those in immediate danger from intimate partner violence, the only one in Snohomish County and one of the largest in the state. Recently a single mom of three came to the shelter in need of support. As a result, the family has stable housing, the children are thriving and she is now able to focus on her goals, her mental health and cultivating a healthy future for herself and her children. Safety and security start with housing."
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
There are multiple issues that cause homelessness. Here are some articles and websites to get you started:
Consider reading these books:
Homelessness is a Housing Problem (homelessnesshousingproblem.com)
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin
Short term instruction is also valuable:
Other ways to educate yourself:
Donate time working in a food bank or soup kitchen.
Donate your time to help with a local Point-in-Time Count
Point in Time Count Basics & What to Know for the 2022 PIT Count (footholdtechnology.com)
Follow local nonprofits working on the homelessness issue, on social media or join their blogs
You can also connect with nonprofits, like the partners listed below, that work directly with those who are experiencing homelessness to learn more
Talk to your friends and family
By educating yourself on the issues, you can help to counter some of the myths and misinformation that is shared about the roots of homelessness. By connecting to social media networks, blogs, and newsletters of local agencies working on the issue, you can stay informed about efforts to make a difference. Little by little, you can help make changes in your community.
Contact your local representatives
VOTE for candidates that support housing, and support them in their campaigns!
Get to know your local city council our county council representative. Go to their open houses and ask questions about the homelessness issues in your area and what solutions they are working on. Feel free to connect and share what you have learned about the complexities of the issue.
Ask them what you can do to help them support housing diversity in your community.
Don’t hesitate to share solutions you have heard about from other cities or towns where their approach seems to be working!
Testify at local planning and budget hearings.
Attend neighborhood and public meetings and speak up in favor of low-income housing, group homes, shelters, and homelessness prevention programs.
Solicit the support of local care providers, the faith community, and civic and veterans’ groups.
Follow up with continuing correspondence and personal meetings with the local decision-makers.
Support local resources!
Supporting local nonprofits and community organizations helps people in the county at all levels. Check out the list of Snohomish County Common Cause partners below to get started.
Interested in learning more about the current state of homelessness, the causes, and what we can do about it? Check out some of the educational resources below.*
National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Center for Homeless Education
Puget Sound Regional Council
National Low Income Housing Coalition
*These resources are not affiliated with the Common Cause: Housing, and are intended only to be used for educational purposes.
Common Cause Partners
In 2020 the average annual household income was $89,273. The average sale price for a home was $671,774 and it required $119,602 to qualify to buy it. The shortage of accessible, affordable homes across Snohomish County impacts all of us and especially our economy.
When people cannot afford to live near their workplace, roads get clogged, local businesses decline and childcare costs increase. We need a variety of housing stock across our county to meet people’s needs.