Org Focus Friday: DESC

DESC is one of the largest and most impactful organizations in our region, providing a multitude of services to individuals who are currently or formerly experiencing homelessness. DESC works to end the homelessness of vulnerable people, particularly those living with serious mental illnesses, substance use disorders, and/or chronic health conditions. Their goal is to help clients achieve their highest potential for independence, self-determination, and personal responsibility possible.

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

DESC entered the supportive housing arena in 1994 with the opening of The Union, a 52-unit building located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. This project marked the expansion of our mission from managing homelessness to actually ending the homelessness of our community’s most vulnerable people. Today, DESC owns and manages more than 1,400 units of supportive housing throughout Seattle.

DESC Supportive Housing is built upon the Housing First Philosophy, which embraces the notion that vulnerable clients are more easily engaged in robust clinical services and experience greater success once the chaos of living on the streets has been eliminated from their lives. As the name suggests, the Housing First practice dispenses with decades of trying to determine who is “housing ready” or using the promise of housing to reward people for achieving some predetermined clinical goal such as psychiatric stability or drug and alcohol abstinence. They are a national pioneer, innovator, and leader in the Housing First movement, which is now the dominant service approach promoted in national policy.

SURVIVAL SERVICES

For over 35 years DESC has prioritized services to marginalized and chronically homeless people by operating the lowest-barrier shelters in the region. Our Survival Services are a vital resource for thousands of people experiencing homelessness who might otherwise have nowhere else to go.

In addition to providing safe, secure shelter, hot meals, and day-time safe haven from the streets, these services are a focal point for DESC’s outreach efforts and vulnerability assessments, and help people access a wide range of programs (both at DESC and elsewhere) to help them stabilize their lives and get permanent housing.

HEALTH SERVICES

DESC clients live with severe and often untreated mental illness, substance use disorders, and a host of other physical and developmental disabilities that have caused or contributed to their chronic homelessness. By addressing each client’s unique needs through a structured and comprehensive recovery plan, staff are able to help clients stabilize and reclaim their lives. Engagement in our highly effective, state-licensed mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs contribute to each client’s success in housing.

CRISIS RESPONSE

The Crisis Solutions Center (CSC) provides a resource for police, medics, crisis mental health professionals, and other first responders to use for individuals who are in crisis and might otherwise receive no help, or be taken to jail or a hospital emergency department. The goal of the CSC is to reduce chronic homelessness and unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice and emergency medical systems.

With the clinic at Hobson Place, DESC and Harborview Medical Center will establish the first local full-scale health care clinic specifically designed to meet the complex needs of people living with disabilities who have experienced the longest periods of homelessness. Hobson Place will also be a supportive housing building, with 177 studio units in total. The clinic at Hobson Place will serve residents of the supportive housing and the broader community and create new employment opportunities in the neighborhood.

The first phase of the project, set to open early October, will provide 85 affordable studio apartments with supportive services and indoor/outdoor community spaces for individuals who are disabled and formerly homeless. The second and final phase of the project will include the integrated physical and behavioral healthcare clinic and approximately 92 units of affordable housing for people with disabilities who have experienced homelessness. This second building will begin construction in early 2020 and be completed in early 2021. DESC will own and operate both buildings and provide management and supportive services to tenants.

Project in development: Hobson Place. With the clinic at Hobson Place, DESC and Harborview Medical Center will establish the first local full-scale health care clinic specifically designed to meet the complex needs of people living with disabilities who have experienced the longest periods of homelessness. By better addressing the health care needs of this group, the new clinic will result in a healthier community for everyone.

GET INVOLVED AND SUPPORT DESC:

If you would like to support DESC in it’s mission to end homelessness by volunteering your time, making a donation or finding other ways to be involved, visit https://www.desc.org/get-involved or email info@desc.org.  You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Click HERE to donate to support their amazing work.



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