Pets eat, too
The Seattle Humane Society is holding a food drive on April 1 — the day after this issue hits the streets — to collect and distribute pet food and supplies to low-income pet owners who need the help.
According to the organization’s website, the Pet Food Bank feeds more than 2,000 pets every month with eight tons of food delivered to outside organizations such as senior housing complexes, community centers and food banks.
Supply chain issues that began during the coronavirus pandemic hit food for humans, but it also lessened supplies available for our furry friends. The Pet Food Institute (PFI), an advocacy group for pet food makers, reported in January 2022 that the prices of some plant- and animal-based ingredients used in pet food have gone up. The pet food industry is also in competition with companies in renewable fuel production for certain oils and fats.
The issue hasn’t gone away. A Fox News affiliate in Philadelphia reported in early March that canned food continued to be expensive and sometimes scarce.
King County launched a new mobile shower unit that will connect people experiencing homelessness with the facilities that they need to stay clean.
The unit — created by the Clean the World foundation — will travel to locations in Seattle, Renton and Kent, providing soap, water and washing facilities. The unit includes four stalls, each with a sink, toilet, shower and dressing area. One of the stalls is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and includes a baby-changing station.
People who use the showers will receive a hygiene kit with soap, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste. They’ll also get towels.
The unit is sanitized after each use.
The new mobile unit is part of Clean the World’s Fresh Start WASH & Wellness program. According to King County, the program will “eventually” include wraparound services including mental health or substance misuse assessments, food assistance, clothing, health care, veterinary care, job placement training and housing assistance.
According to King County, the shower unit can provide up to 250 showers per week. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the need. In 2020, the last time that the county conducted a point-in-time count of unsheltered homeless people, there were approximately 11,750 people found sleeping rough. That’s almost certainly an undercount.
The new hygiene unit does not exist in a vacuum. Urban Rest Stop, a program that operates in Ballard and Downtown Seattle, also provides showers as well as laundry services. The city of Seattle also deploys shower trailers.
Read more of the Mar. 30-Apr. 5, 2022 issue.