Homelessness is at a crisis level for many families across the Puget Sound area. On average, 35 out of every 1,000 urban indigenous people in King County, Washington, are homeless — a rate seven times higher than any other ethnic group. Native Works, in partnership with its parent organization Chief Seattle Club, empowers Native homeless with work and income — to catalyze hope, and ultimately, transformation. “We train our Native relatives in artisanship — making jewelry, hand-printing greeting cards, and we give them a job,” said Native Works’ manager in a recent video produced by Starbucks.
Native Works teaches formerly homeless Native artists to create and sell authentic, handmade jewelry. The artists earn income from their designs, and additional proceeds from purchases go directly to providing meals, mental healthcare, drug and alcohol counseling, housing referrals, legal consultation and more to those in need within Seattle’s Native community.
“I see incredible resiliency in our homeless community. I see people who are beautiful and are just looking for that one opportunity to help them move to that next spot,” said Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, and a founder of the Coalition to End Urban Native Homelessness. (Echohawk is an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Ahtna Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake.)
Starbucks produced a video with filmmaker David Llama (www.elanimal.tv) that spotlights the life-changing work of Native Works in King County. Meanwhile Pearl Jam hosted “The Home Shows,” two headlining concerts in Seattle on August 8 and 10, to elevate the conversation about reducing homelessness, and to raise money to bolster Native Works’ cause.
“Pearl Jam is a small part of this, but we have a big megaphone that we want to bring to this issue,” the bandmates said in the video.
As part of The Home Shows Initiative, over $10 million has been committed from a growing list of businesses, individuals, government agencies, and foundations who are fighting homelessness in King County, Wash. Learn more about the band’s commitment to reducing homeless at PearlJam.com/TheHomeShows.