JustCARE

A Human Centered Response

JustCARE is an answer to calls from neighborhood leaders in the Seattle neighborhoods of Chinatown International District (CID) and Pioneer Square, for a real response to problems posed by and in encampments – without law enforcement or displacement.

UW Evaluation of JustCARE

Full Report
Executive Summary

“Removing an encampment does harm if it uproots people’s lives…”

— Jesse Benet, Deputy Director of the Public Defender Association

As Seattle wrestles with the homelessness crisis, this model – non-siloed teams of JustCARE and the City working in concert – has been repeatedly proven effective, both humanely providing shelter services for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness as well as clearing public spaces for everyone.

“The Trinity Bellwoods crackdown was not surprising. But there is a better way to respond to encampments”

An Op-Ed by Katherine Beckett – The Globe and Mail – Published 07/12/2021

Formatted Op-Ed
Original Publication

“A game changer for the pandemic…”

–Lisa Howard, Executive Director for Pioneer Square

JustCARE is a multi-agency, hotel-based intensive case management program actively responding to COVID conditions for the unhoused in support of individuals with complex behavioral health needs who commonly commit law violations or exhibit problematic behavior related to behavioral health conditions. The hotel-based model of care, developed by the PDA CoLEAD team, uses hotels as a temporary lodging component with intensive case management and residential on-site support.

Current JustCARE hotel-based programs include:

  • JustCARE encampment outreach and move coordination provided by the Evergreen Treatment Services REACH program.
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service hotel-based JustCARE program (serving an acute mental health population)
  • Chief Seattle Club hotel-based JustCARE program (serving Native and Indigenous individuals)
  • Public Defender Association hotel-based CoLEAD program
  • WDC Safety Team works with all JustCARE providers.
Participant Data

Important insights from these demonstrated efforts:

The common perspective that the unsheltered “resist services” is simply untrue. Offers of safe, decent shelter and a care team which matches an individuals’ circumstances – proffered by skilled outreach workers proactively solving problems and not forcing removal – is usually welcomed. We simply don’t have enough of these placements to offer.

The expertise to offer these care options is readily available in the community. Supporting the resource needs and paying these specialists as first responders is necessary to ensure their effectiveness.

Without a dynamic response from a well-trained care team, initiatives often address only the lowest needs, ignoring the standard systems of “care” and failing to adequately meet the complex behavioral health and legal needs our neighbors and neighborhoods currently face.

This is costly work – but not unduly burdensome. CARES funding will meaningfully improve situations for many on the streets – if prioritized. It’s in everyone’s interest that we do.

What is JustCARE?

JustCARE is, essentially, founded in voluntary partnership, which PDA intentionally cultivates through attention to stakeholder interests and organizational needs. Local neighborhood endorsement and support is integral to the JustCARE model, as it allows neighborhoods to directly align with specific site plans, rather than working at cross purposes with JustCARE initiatives.