Community Post

Funding increase helps more folks Get Off The Streets

Last week a reader commented on seeing a woman at a table at 23rd & Union, handing our information and cookies. That woman is Laurie Hanowell, program coordinator for the Get Off The Streets or GOTS program, which has been doing weekly outreach to addicts in the Central District since 2006.

As we reported in our story last fall, a study found that they can take drug users off the street, get them stable housing, put them in treatment, and turn their lives around for an average cost $2,845. But yearly budget issues limited the potential of the program and created a long waiting list for people who wanted to get help.

But according to Kay Godefroy, Executive Director of the Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNG) which runs the GOTS program, an additional $70,000 in the 2010 budget and a promise of more budget stability in the future has made a big difference. There are now 39 clients in the program, up from 19 at the end of 2009. Each of them is getting set up with a place to live, drug treatment services, group counseling, and other programs that specific participants may require.

Hanowell says that a key feature of GOTS is its wrap-around nature. Housing and food support give clients a stable foundation where they can concentrate on staying clean and sober. Then they can keep up with ongoing treatment, group support, and mental health services.

Consider this: last year GOTS served 62 people, almost all of whom were daily drug users along the 23rd Avenue corridor. As each one graduates from the program, they start a new life with stability, jobs, and without substance abuse and the crime that goes along with it. 

Godefroy and Hanowell both say that last year’s drug market initiative has made a big difference too. SNG runs the treatment and services side of that program, and the positive experience of the DMI participants has generated multiple referrals among their network of friends and family. DMI also strengthened the relationship between SNG and the East Precinct Crime Prevention Team officers, who deal with street users on a daily basis and often refer them into the GOTS program for treatment.

Interested in helping out? Here’s some easy ways community members can participate:

  • The GOTS outreach needs bottled water, healthy snacks, socks, and travel-size toiletries. Pick up some the next time you’re at Costco and drop them off at SNG headquarters.
  • SNG’s partner POCAAN needs “gently worn” clothing and beginning household supplies.

0 thoughts on “Funding increase helps more folks Get Off The Streets

  1. Are you serious? My tax dollars are funding this??? Only here in Seattle. Let’s all help those that choose not to help themselves. Oh yeah, and mandate that others HAVE to pay for it! This is getting out of hand. It may not be in my lifetime, but I can assure you there will be a revolution. People are going to say enough is enough and fight back.

  2. If this program works — they seem to be having successes so far, we will see what the long-run results are — it will save taxpayer money. The costs of getting a person in-and-out of and/or keeping them in prison, their health care costs related to drug use and the additional insurance costs paid by the folks whose homes they burglarize or whose cars they prowl for money to buy drugs (and more than a few GOTS clients are drug users and part-time dealers –) adds up to a bunch more than 3K.

    And it is not only in Seattle — other cities are using similar programs. Will they work long-term to get people to decide to help themselves — and then do it? If we give the program a chance we will find out what does work — and what does not.

  3. Or you could just move somewhere where soundbyte reasoning, short-sightedness, emotion-based governance, and overwhelming greed are cultural values.

  4. May all beings be happy.
    May all beings being healthy.
    May all beings be safe
    May all beings live with ease.

  5. May all beings actually do something to contribute to society rather than being a drain on society. May all beings act toward others as they would like to be acted upon.

    Your way of looking at things, Dain, is what has caused this society of ours to become so screwed up! Your persivness and “love to all” is what is allowing young people to behave as if there are no consequences to bad behavior. Live with ease? Are you serious? Have you ever thought that maybe you should contribute more than you take??? If we let you continue on this path of take, take, take; there will be NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE!

    Amazing. Truly, truly amazing.

  6. Seems like this is the only good that is coming out of the Seattle Police Drop-In Center. On April 1, SPD is starting foot patrols in “high-crime” areas Belltown, Pioneer Square and the I.D. – why not the Central District / 23rd corridor? Seems like our neighborhood is as much in need of a more personal connection with police as the others, and they already have touch-down space.

  7. You’re already paying for it in jail costs, which are astronomical. At least this program is attempting to break the cycle, rather than spending all our money on jail, release, re-offend, rejail. Add to the cost of jailing the cost of the astronomical number of lawsuits that are generated by the MRSA infested conditions at the KC Jail, any program that prevents re-offense even of a few is worth my tax dollars otherwise spent on warehousing rather than rehabbing.

  8. GOTS helped me be a success and I have been clean and sober for almost 2 years. One reason for my success was the support and understanding that I received from the GOTS coordinator, Laurie Hanowell. How you could just eliminate her for no apparent reason other then personal was a disjustice. I hope that your funders are aware of what is going on behind the scenes of GOTS. The program is just not the same without Laurie. I have talked to other graduates and current clients and they agree. Shame on you, Kay!!