JustCARE is a response to the increase in people living unsheltered in vulnerable communities trying to rebound from the COVID economic crisis.
The JustCARE field team (PDA & REACH) built relationships, organized within the community of unsheltered individuals at a JustCARE site, and assessed each individual’s situation and barriers before proposing a placement that could work for them. CoLEAD, as well as similar hotel-based lodging programs launched by ACRS and Chief Seattle Club, were critical, as they provided low-barrier lodging placements for nearly everyone encountered by the field team.
JustCARE field workers found that most individuals were mid-life adults with extensive barriers to housing and services including criminal history, active drug use and engagement in illicit commercial activity; most had been homeless for over a year, and many for more than 5 years. Yet, nearly every person engaged was willing to accept a JustCARE lodging placement, defying the narrative that chronic homelessness is due to a population that is “service-resistant.” As our counterparts at the Hawai’i Health & Harm Reduction Center put it, we don’t have service-resistant people — rather, we have people-resistant services.
“…we don’t have service-resistant people — rather, we have people-resistant services.”
JustCARE is meant to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be that way, and that there is a pathway for nearly everyone to come inside, if we design services to match their situation.
JustCARE was proposed by PDA and partner organizations REACH, Chief Seattle Club and Asian Counseling & Referral Service following the success of CoLEAD in Burien WA in Spring 2020. It recognized that COVID relief dollars were not, to that point, being dedicated to unsheltered individuals in our community, and proposed a win-win approach that would care for individuals while also restoring a healthy and orderly environment for businesses seeking to re-open and survive the difficult period.