On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in Seattle
- PUBLISHED: February 2023
- SUBJECT LISTING: History / American History, Pacific Northwest / History, Health
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 300 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 10 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295751542
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Affluent Seattle has one of the highest numbers of unhoused people in the United States. In 2021 an estimated 40,800 people experienced homelessness in Seattle and King County during the year, not counting the significant number of "hidden" homeless people doubled up with friends or living in and out of cheap hotels. In Skid Road Josephine Ensign uncovers the stories of overlooked and long-silenced people who have lived on the margins of society throughout Seattle’s history.
How, Ensign asks, has a large, socially progressive city like Seattle responded to the health and social needs of people marginalized by poverty, mental illness, addiction, racial/ethnic/sexual identities, and homelessness? Through extensive historical research, Ensign pieces together the lives and deaths of those not included in official histories of the city. Drawing on interviews, she also shares a diversity of voices within contemporary health and social care and public policy debates. Ensign explores the tensions between caregiving and oppression, as well as charity and solidarity, that polarize perspectives on homelessness throughout the country.
Authors & Contributors
Josephine Ensign is professor in the School of Nursing and adjunct professor in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is author of Catching Homelessness: A Nurse's Story of Falling through the Safety Net and Soul Stories: Voices from the Margins.
Ensign's devotion to her subjects is palpable, as are the rigor of her research and the care she has shown in telling the stories of marginalized people long dead or still alive.- Crosscut
[Skid Road] unearths the layers of Seattle history underlying our current housing crisis. Centering long-silenced perspectives of those in the margins of society, the provocative read is informed by Ensign's own lived experience of homelessness and over three decades of her work providing primary health care to unhoused populations.- Seattle Met