Libraries, Housing & Homelessness

Housing and homelessness continue to be top newsmakers around the country – and in particular in the Pacific Northwest, where rapid population growth is putting pressure on the housing market, increasing housing costs, and putting people at increased risk of displacement and homelessness.

Koné Consulting recently conducted a homelessness assessment for Edmonds, WA, a town just north of Seattle, as part of a Homelessness Response Project. This Monday, June 3, consultant Karin Ellis will be a panelist at the Edmonds library in a community forum called “Issues That Matter” to discuss the outcome of the assessment. The Sno-Isle Libraries forums are meant to encourage community conversations on high-profile topics and are free and open to the public. This year the topics focus on four broad themes related to regional growth, which are environment, transportation, employment, and housing. Monday’s forum is called “Looking forward: Housing – Where Will We All Live?”  

Blokable project at Edmonds Lutheran Church featured in the  Everett Herald .  Photo credit: Lizz Giordano/The Herald

Blokable project at Edmonds Lutheran Church featured in the Everett Herald.

Photo credit: Lizz Giordano/The Herald

The relationship between libraries, housing and homelessness makes sense to Karin, who has been a long time lover of the library, taking after her mother who is a retired elementary school librarian. When Karin provided outreach services to people who are homeless she developed an informal connection to the library due to it being a public space that provides free access to the internet to search for resources like housing and jobs. Not only is the library a refuge from cold and rain, it is an mechanism for equity – providing programs, services and opportunities to people who could not otherwise access. Seattle Public Library has formalized the connection to services providers through a partnership with DESC (where Karin used to work) and now has a Community Resource Specialist position at three branches. This allows patrons of the library to also meet with outreach workers and case managers, complete housing assessments and get resources for food and shelter.  

With over 15 years’ experience working in health and human services, specializing in mental health, substance use and homelessness, including managing the supportive housing program at a community mental health agency, we are fortunate to have Ms. Ellis in our ranks. For her thoughts on mental health, see our May 15th blog, highlighting Mental Health Awareness Month.

The Issues That Matter forum will be moderated by Teresa Wippel, Founder and Publisher of My Edmonds News and in addition to Ms. Ellis, will feature Aaron Holm, Co-CEO at Blokable, and Mindy Woods, Formerly Homeless Advocate.

Looking Forward: Housing – Where Will We All Live?

Monday, June 3rd • 6:30 pm – 8 pm

Edmonds Library

650 Main Street - Edmonds, WA

425-771-1933

 Follow these links to see our report on Homelessness in Edmonds, WA, or for more information on the Issues That Matter series.