For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Media Contact: Dr. Sheley Secrest, Economic Development Chair, Seattle-King County NAACP, (253) 468-1247,
NAACP Urges City to Take Race into Account When Addressing Mayor Murray’s State of Emergency Over Homelessness
Allocate Resources to Solutions that Address Root Causes
Seattle, WA--The Seattle King County NAACP is calling on local leaders to take race into account when addressing the State of Emergency over homelessness. For the NAACP, it’s as clear as black and white: Seattle’s a white city with black homelessness.
While Seattle is one of the whitest cities in the country, the homeless population is largely black people. Despite the fact that African Americans make up 7 percent of Seattle’s population, they are tripled in the city's homeless population.
The numbers increase even more for families: around 60 percent of homeless families in shelters were listed as black or African American in the 2012 Seattle Annual Homeless Count. Homeless youth also are made up of more minorities than whites.
As Seattle calls for a State of Emergency over homelessness, the NAACP wants to see financial resources allocated to solutions that address the root causes leading to the disproportionate rate of black homelessness, including:
- End racial discrimination in housing by landlords;
- Expand ban-the-box protections to include rental applications;
- Create jobs paying living wages with targeted hiring for black employees.
Unless city leaders address the racial component of homelessness, the solutions are not going to reach the people who are most in need, and Seattle as a whole will not be able to move forward.
Dr. Sheley Secrest is available for phone interviews at: (253) 468-1247
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.