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How To Help The Homeless in Washington State

Homelessness in Washington State is a major problem. Every night, thousands of people are sleeping on the streets without shelter or basic necessities. This is an issue that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds and is especially prevalent in our state’s urban areas.


Homelessness in America

Currently, there are more than half a million people experiencing homelessness in the United States. Homeless communities often reside in temporary shelters, transitional housing, and untraditional housing. For instance, homeless communities may frequent homeless shelters, sleep in a car, or live in abandoned buildings. 

The most common causes of homelessness include:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Low wages


In a study published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it was reported that nearly half of the homeless population was struggling with chronic substance abuse issues. Homeless affects such a large percentage of people in the United States, and it is truly our position to do everything we can to help homeless people get back on their feet.

In 2018, on a single night over half a million people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. There are thousands of homeless individuals who are 25 years old and younger, who have no shelter in their homelessness. These statistics are excruciating for us at Royal Life Centers, and we are dedicated to making a difference in as many lives as we can.


Homelessness in Washington State

In 2023, there are 22,923 people who are homeless in Washington state. Washington currently has the fifth-highest population of homelessness behind California, New York, Texas, and Florida. 

According to the US Census Bureau, 10,814 homeless individuals in Washington state are unsheltered. From 2020 to 2022, the number of unsheltered Washingtonians increased by 10% or 2,288 people.

Washington State homelessness facts include:

  • Total homeless in Washington State: 22,923
  • Homeless young adults in Washington State: 1,911
  • Washington households suffering from homelessness: 1,751
  • Homeless veterans in Washington State: 1,585


Regardless of your situation, we believe if you are struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, you deserve addiction treatment. Because we care, we are dedicated to helping our community in as many ways as possible, we provide addiction treatment to 72 homeless people each year, completely free of charge. Our devotion to service work in the homeless population is only the start of our overall community involvement. We are committed to improving each community that we call home, in as many ways as we can.


Helping Homeless Communities in Washington State

At Royal Life Centers, we believe in being of service to the communities we call home. Our desire to be of service to those struggling with addiction is restless. With the goal of becoming a pillar of hope in the community, we provide help through various forms of community service. We are committed to helping our homeless neighbors find the support they need to break free from addiction and poverty so that they can build secure lives for themselves.

Royal serves the community by getting involved with volunteering and service opportunities, as well as launching our own protocols to lessen the impact of addiction on our communities. One of the ways we get involved to actively fight the stigma surrounding addiction is by showing our care and concern for those most affected by the grips of addiction — the homeless population. We care for those struggling with homelessness and addiction through our care packages.


Making Care Packages for the Homeless During Rehab

Our dedication to lifting up community members around us has been ever-present at Royal. With that being said, our care package project was inspired by one of our guests. When Elliot B was taken from our recovery community due to an overdose, all of us at Royal Life Centers were impacted by his loss. 

After Elliot’s passing, his mother worked with us to create a way to help those who are struggling with addiction like her son once was. This idea to assist others who are sick and suffering from addiction launched the creation of our Elliot Bag project.

Elliot Bags are essentially care packages for those in the homeless community who are suffering from homelessness, and homeless individuals who are suffering from addiction. These care packages go hand-in-hand with our homeless sponsorships because we offer addiction treatment to Elliot Bag recipients. Helping those whose lives are affected by addiction is our passion, and so we strive to make the biggest difference in our communities as we possibly can.


What is a Care Package?

A care package is a package of essential items used to help homeless people in need. These packages often contain essential hygiene products, snacks, blankets, and other supplies that will help the homeless stay warm and healthy. 

Our Elliot Bags are care packages that we personally make and hand out to homeless individuals in the community. 

Inside our care packages are essentials for living, including: 

  • Water
  • Snacks (Tuna, peanut butter crackers, granola bars, cookies)
  • Toiletries (Soap, Shampoo, Razor, Shaving cream, Comb, Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Feminine products)
  • Socks
  • Poncho
  • Blanket


Our mission is to provide as many people in the homeless community with help, lessening the challenges of homelessness with Elliot Bags. For this reason, our care packages for the homeless provide practical assistance with basic needs as well as emotional support during difficult times. 

Additionally, many care packages also include cards or notes of encouragement and support so those in need are reminded that there are people who care about them. Our Elliot Bags go beyond the typical care package because we include homeless scholarships for an opportunity to enter treatment.


Homeless Scholarships

Along with Elliot Bags, we offer two people in the homeless community a full scholarship to our addiction treatment centers, per month. Each of our addiction treatment centers offers two homeless scholarships to recipients of the Elliot Bag, which in total is six full scholarships given out to those who are homeless and living with an alcohol or substance use disorder. 

We know that those who are homeless, have little to no access to addiction treatment— so we feel responsible for helping out those who cannot get help for their chronic substance abuse and mental health.


The Benefits of Volunteering in Rehab

Giving back is an integral part of being involved in your community. For this reason, Royal Life Centers encourages guests to volunteer and help those in need. Volunteering will help you grasp a greater sense of gratitude because if you are in a position to help others, you are already very fortunate. Helping others is proven to be beneficial to your overall health. In fact, volunteering can improve social interaction, healthy behaviors, and your ability to cope for both the volunteer and the individuals receiving help.

Volunteering is proven to provide physical health benefits and mental health benefits. At Royal Life Centers, we volunteer to help those in need. 

The effect that your volunteer work has on those you are serving includes (Casiday):

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Disease management and acceptance
  • Parenting skills
  • Healthy behaviors
  • Mental health
  • Survival time
  • Improved relationships with health professionals


Research analyzing the benefits of volunteering has found that people who volunteer have lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction, and an improved sense of well-being. Also, studies found that those who volunteer have a 20% decreased risk of death.


Examples of Community Involvement at Royal Life Centers

At Royal Life Centers, we remain dedicated to supporting the communities we serve by offering assistance wherever needed. We strive to be a reliable source of strength for each area we operate in, and enthusiastically take part in numerous charitable initiatives to help make a difference.

At Royal Life Centers, we take pride in our community, which is why we regularly “adopt” local streets as part of our civic responsibility. By keeping these streets clean and vandal-free, we’re doing our part to maintain the natural beauty of our surroundings. Our passionate team performs regular litter cleanups and tackles any defacement to keep our neighborhood looking its best.

We also participate in street adoptions and take part in litter pick-up initiatives. Through community service, we believe in the power of helping others and taking responsibility for making a difference in the world. Regular litter clean-up is part of our ongoing efforts to have a positive impact on the community. This is because we believe that community involvement should be as service-oriented as possible.


Healing From Homelessness and Addiction

Providing your time to a good cause is an esteem-able act that will provide healing in your recovery journey. Volunteering in your community will reduce stress and bring about a sense of community, which is a building block of recovery. Understanding that you are part of a bigger picture, but can still make a massive impact, is a very humbling and real experience.

Real-life experiences are impactful in the recovery process, and serving others less fortunate than yourself will provide you with an overwhelming sense of gratitude that you just can’t get from something like a support group. Treating your alcohol or substance use disorder doesn’t always have to look like intensive therapy within an addiction center setting, you can continue healing and bettering your recovery in ways that are outside of yourself.


Our Substance Abuse Treatment Services

At Royal Life Centers, we offer programs that treat addiction in every stage of recovery. Our treatment programs transition guests through the stages of the recovery process. As guests progress through treatment, we provide guidance and support every step of the way. We provide both inpatient and outpatient treatment services within individualized, comprehensive addiction treatment at all of our treatment facilities. 

We provide intensive therapies for substance abuse treatment, including: 

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy session (Life skills, mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal communication, distress tolerance)
  • Behavioral therapies (CBT, DBT, ACT, REBT)
  • Psychoeducation (Education on mental health and substance use)
  • Adventure therapies (Hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking)
  • Activity therapies (Music, art, and journaling)
  • Equine therapy
  • Therapy for trauma (EMDR, TF-CBT)


During treatment, our guests collaborate with their case manager and therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan. In doing so, our medical professionals can tailor our treatment offerings in a way that meets their needs and goals. Royal Life Centers uses proven effective methods of addiction treatment, and only the best practices. 


Our Treatment Programs

At Royal Life Centers, we provide a full continuum of care to those seeking to recover from substance abuse. Our primary focus is on providing evidence-based treatment and therapeutic interventions to support our guest’s journey of recovery. We offer a wide range of services that include inpatient and outpatient levels of care.

Royal Life Centers offers treatment programs including: 

  • Medical detox
  • Residential inpatient program
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient program (OP) 
  • Sober living residences


In all of our short-term and long-term treatment programs, Royal Life Centers offers volunteering opportunities that encourage community involvement. We believe in the power of being active members of a community and giving back to it. There is no better way to get involved in the community than by participating in community service.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please reach out to our addiction specialists at 877-RECOVERY. Our team of addiction specialists makes themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.

Allie Kraska
Author Alexandra Kraska

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