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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: homelessness

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January 21, 2015 at 5:35 AM

Washington legislators must protect homeless students in K-12 schools

My column in today’s Seattle Times follows up with Solomon Muche, a young immigrant who overcame homelessness in high school and now studies at the University of Washington. He recently spoke to other kids staying at Mary’s Place about the importance of asking for help and finding opportunities to better their circumstances. Right now, thousands of children without permanent housing are struggling to get through the public education system.

University of Washington freshman Solomon Muche, 17, returns to Mary's Place in downtown Seattle to share his story of transitioning from homelessness to college student on Dec. 31, 2014. (Photo by Thanh Tan/The Seattle Times)

University of Washington freshman Solomon Muche (left), 17, returns to Mary’s Place in downtown Seattle to share his story of transitioning from homelessness to college student on Dec. 31, 2014. In the foreground, his little brother and Mary’s Place Executive Director Marty Hartman watch. (Photo by Thanh Tan/The Seattle Times)

Muche’s success is a testament to that age-old idea that everyone has potential, but they need someone to help them reach their goals. That “someone” for many students in Washington is the homeless student liaison, a position the state Legislature supports on paper and is required to provide under federal law, but has not been able to fund or expand to every district in the state.

Meanwhile, the Washington Legislature was informed on Monday of some bad numbers.  The state’s homeless-student population has jumped from 30,609 kids in the 2012-2013 school year to 32,494 the following academic year. As Seattle Times reporter Joseph O’Sullivan points out in this news story, some of that increase could be attributed to better data gathering. Whatever the reason, the problem is getting worse. Black and Native American kids in the K-12 system are three times more likely to be homeless compared to white students.

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Comments | Topics: homelessness, king county, legislature

September 9, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Mayor Ed Murray should engage with Nickelsville and Little Saigon

Mayor Ed Murray is a man on a mission to make this city work, shepherding through legislation on contentious issues from raising the minimum wage to successfully pitching for a Seattle Park District and negotiating a compromise between ride-services and taxi drivers.

He could be even more effective by taking advantage of the opportunity before him to foster a positive, lasting relationship with the ethnic community in the Chinatown-International District. This is not the most politically active community in the traditional sense, but it could be.

A first step would be to listen to and address the concerns of Little Saigon business leaders, who are on their own as they figure out a culturally sensitive way to respond to Nickelsville’s move from the Central District to a temporary space at 1351 South Dearborn Street. The interim site was erected last week. Residents plan to move to nearby 1010 South Dearborn Street pending approval of a permit from the city.

A drive-by photo of the Nickelsville encampment at 1351 South Dearborn Street. (Photo by Thanh Tan/The Seattle Times)

A drive-by photo of the Nickelsville encampment at 1351 South Dearborn Street. (Photo by Thanh Tan/The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times published an editorial on Aug. 28 calling on the city to find shelter for the roughly 40 residents living in the Nickelsville homeless encampments.

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Comments | Topics: chinatown international district, homelessness

May 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Video: Mark Horvath uses social media savvy to humanize Seattle’s homeless

Forty-five bucks, a backpack and a Twitter account. That’s all it took for Mark Horvath — more widely known in the Twitter-verse as @hardlynormal — to find his calling as an advocate for the homeless. His story reinforces my belief in that old cliche: one person truly can make a difference, especially when the medium is the…

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Comments | Topics: awareness, causes, homeless