Hi, I’m Eric Duechle, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Seattle Compassion Services.
I served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years and deployed on two combat tours,
Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2018, I left the Air Force to join Major League Rugby and
the Seattle Seawolves.
Christina and I established Seattle Compassion Services in Washington state on
February 15, 2019. Seattle Compassion was created to house the homeless and
cleanup the community. When I first arrived to Seattle in 2014, the homeless
population count was at 9,294. As of 2021, the homeless population is at over 12,000 and continues to grow.
My family has struggled with homelessness, so it’s personal for me.
Our mission at Seattle Compassion Services is to help the homeless in King
County access higher levels of shelter until they stabilize. The vision is to return
our county below the threshold that initiated a state of emergency.
We strive to provide a pathway to housing for the homeless, and create
opportunities for the community to be apart of the solution
Eric after our first fundraiser in 2019.
Hello everyone! I'm the homeless advocate and co-founder for Seattle Compassion Services, that my brother Eric and I started over two years ago to see how we could fare as entrepreneurs, helping out the community of Seattle. I was in and out of homelessness for 14 years until my brother Eric invited me to come live with him, so that we could do the business together, and beat loneliness and isolation. My mother was homeless the last five years of her life before she committed suicide November 9, 2009. So, I have a very strong affection for people experiencing homelessness. It's a journey, and if we come together, we can be stronger and no one has to be lost (again).
Christina sharing her philosophy.
HI! I'm Emily. Born and raised in Washington, I grew up in Skagit County and have lived in Seattle for the past 8 years. I've lived in Ballard, Fremont, Greenlake, Greenwood, Wallingford, and U District. I began my work with unhoused neighbors late 2018 after attending a Fremont Neighborhood Council meeting. Representatives from the city were hosting a panel on homelessness and there were two homeless people on the panel. Close to a hundred people were at the meeting. The Navigation Team, SPD, and other local neighborhood leaders all sat at a long table at the front of the room and told us their hands were tied-- the tents were here to stay. A filthy woman sobbed and stuttered that all she wanted was to stop being harassed by the neighbors and be given access to a toilet. A man wearing a northface jacket stood up and screamed at her about his bike being stolen off his porch. It was wild.
My perspective on homelessness changed once I started speaking to people living outdoors. Homelessness was never a choice. It was always the result of multiple occurrences that were out of their control. An abusive parent, an abusive partner, an eviction, a job loss, an illness, a death in the family, a work injury ... so many things can lead to someone losing their home. People don't wake up in warm beds surrounded by loving family members and choose to live under a freeway overpass. Lack of support leads to homelessness. Children who were unloved and unsupported at home become adults who are homeless. It's not a choice.
I met Eric and Christina through hosting community dinners with Two Bridges Church. In September 2020, Eric and I met up at Gasworks to discuss a way to make a positive impact in the neighborhood of Ballard. We decided to focus on the Leary Triangle as it was in a high visibility area and the number of campers seemed manageable for our small team. Our goal is to alleviate the suffering of the people living outdoors by providing waste management services and a generator while we help them navigate the housing system.
I actively support Seattle Compassion Services, Facing Homelessness, Two Bridges Church, Ballard Food Bank, University District Foodbank, and Friends of the Troll's Knoll.
There are many ways to give back to your community and the most common are time and money. If you'd like to volunteer with us, please send us a message! If you'd like to donate, please do so here, and please share our work on social media so more people can get involved.
My name is Ted and I’m a professor at the University of Washington in Radiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology. I practice primarily in body imaging with subspecialty interests in high risk obstetrics and cardiac imaging. En route on my way to Seattle, I endured living 8 long years living in Baltimore on the way to earning my degrees. And while walking through Baltimore, in order to survive, I learned how to make connection with the down and out on my walk to school. This primarily involved posing no threat and gaining the trust of these people by helping them when possible and assuring them I identified with them to a greater extent than might realize. I’d carry snacks in my backpack and walk to medical school everyday through some of the highest crime areas of the city and somehow made connection with a lot of my friends along the way.
Last year as I drove around Ballard, surviving in this pandemic like everyone else, I realized that homelessness was only going to get worse, and that the city was behind in its efforts to solve this. I realized that we the people living here in Seattle were clearly going to have to be the solution. I drive by the Leary Triangle every night and after observing it for some time realized that in its way, a small location would be an ideal site on which to effect change. So I inquired online and was referred to Emily Van Pelt who connected me with Eric. Eric and I met at the triangle one afternoon and surveying the situation and speaking with local businesses, residents and the residents at the triangle itself, it was clear that a porta potty and a dumpster would deliver the most positive effect for the residents at the Leary triangle, the surrounding businesses and the surround residential community of anything we could do in the short term. Eric and I shared a common vision of a pilot program to start.
What I’ve learned from the past few months is that however you think things seem to be, nothing is as it seems in an encampment. My personal interest in all of this is the establishment of drug and mental health services on site at encampments like the Leary Triangle are critical to really solving this problem. If we can house everyone first, fine, but I don’t have faith that the city will have the vision and resources to really do this.
Despite a very effective mobile truck service the county runs as a first aid and primary care clinic, the impediments to obtaining this type of healthcare care remain, and are a real obstacle to solving the homeless problem. We’ll see what happens but at the moment the Leary Triangle is in limbo with regard to city planning and walking the line of helping the people living there not knowing what future housing options will be available to them versus our own ability to improve the site and help these people is unclear. I will continue to work with Seattle Compassion Services, and the King County Mobile truck and hope that we can collectively help everyone and solve this problem, but the current trajectory isn’t going to work in my mind and it’s going to depend on us, the neighbors and business living with this that are going to have to fix it so everyone can live together in peace with conflict.
Welcome! I’m Rachel (she/her) and I’ve been volunteering with Seattle Compassion Services since December 2020. I became involved after finding out about SCS through Eric Duechle, as I am an avid rugby fan (Go Seawolves!!) and I was beyond impressed with the charitable work that Eric was doing in addition to his professional rugby career.
My background is in the natural sciences: I received a Master’s in Environmental Science and PhD in Ecological Sciences. For both degrees I studied the effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations on plant growth. After getting my PhD I went on to teach at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. as a Lecturer for 5 years, and then online. While there I ran a project called Classroom-to-Table where my students and I collaborated with several urban community gardens to grow food plants that were then donated to the local Food Bank.
I am currently the Rain Garden and Natural Yard Care Coordinator for the WSU Snohomish County Extension office in Everett, Wa. It’s important to me to take steps in my life and work to protect both our environment and the human condition. Homelessness is a topic that affects us all whether we realize it or not.
“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it's lowest ones.”
~ Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom (2008)
Thank you for being here!
Hi there, as the newest member of the Seattle Compassion Services team, I say welcome! I’m Julia and I recently started serving at Seattle Compassion Services, after connecting with Eric through the power of social media. As a somewhat recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, I had been looking for ways to get more involved in my community – I found SCS and knew that this was the place for me to serve.
While I’m still establishing roots in Seattle, I’m not new to working with unhoused populations. Previously living in Los Angeles during my undergraduate years, I was connected to organizations and outreaches that served our neighbors living on Skid Row. It was the first time I recognized homelessness as a crisis – and the necessity to work towards equitable solutions. After college, I moved to Arizona and lived there for five years, where I worked in Higher Education and pursued my master’s degree in communication from Arizona State University. During that time I worked alongside students and aging-out foster youth, some of whom experienced homelessness, poverty, and hunger.
One area I’m passionate about is providing resources and support for aging-out foster youth. The reality for nearly 20% of youths who age out of foster care at 18 is that they will become homeless within a couple of years. The resources they received while in the foster care system end and many are left to navigate the world and fend for themselves. My hope is to continue to serve at-risk youths aging out of the foster care system in King County.
I’m a firm believer in putting people first and helping them make connections to resources, support, and community. The current homelessness crisis is an “us” issue not a “them” issue. We all can find our lane and get involved, whether directly volunteering with Seattle Compassion Services, following us on social media and sharing our posts, donating money and goods, and/or contacting our local and state representatives to take measurable steps to addressing the homelessness crisis in Seattle.
Thanks for being here, we appreciate you!