Unfortunate passing of two homeless in Ballard

By Danielle Anthony-Goodwin

We are saddened to report two deaths within Ballard’s homeless community in the last two weeks.

On January 20th, Mr Byron Barnes, 47, was found dead in a parking lot in Ballard (at 1764 NW 56th). Barnes was a popular member of the community who will be dearly missed by his many friends. At this stage the cause of his death is pending.

Five days later, in the early hours of January 25th, Ms Kathryn Ann Blair, 60, was found near the 1200 block of Rainier Avenue South. She was found by one of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) One Night Count street-count teams and sadly her cause of death was hypothermia.

Since 1980 The One Night Count has worked with volunteers to annually conduct a point-in-time count of the homeless community in Seattle. During their count on the evening of January 25th 2, 736 people were found to be sleeping outside without shelter, a five percent increase in the count from 2012.

“The One Night Count is a humbling experience,” said Coalition Executive Director Alison Eisinger. In her seventh year of leading this effort, she reflected, “The Count is a call to action each January — the beginning of a full year of education and action for all of us who care about this crisis.”

Women’s Housing, Equality, and Enhancement League (WHEEL) Women in Black will stand vigil for Mr Barnes and Ms Blair from noon to 1 PM next Wednesday, February 6th, outside the Seattle Justice Center (5th and Cherry). WHEEL have stood for more than 430 people since they started the vigils in the year 2000. Members of the community are welcome to attend.

WHEEL is a non-profit organization comprised of homeless and formerly homeless women working to end homelessness for women. It is the sister organization to Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE). Both organizations manage shelters and Tent Cities and aim to empower the homeless in Seattle.

For more information about this vigil and other projects please contact WHEEL at (206) 956-0334 or email wheelorg@yahoo.com

For more information about SCKHH and the One Night Count contact them here.

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