Why Basic Needs?
Seattle / King County has the third-largest homeless population in the U.S.
Having the basics can change everything.
Seattle/King County has the third-largest population of individuals experiencing homelessness in the U.S. after New York and Los Angeles. The 2020 Point-In-Time Count reported an estimated 3,743 adults and children were in families with children in King county. Notably absent from ending homelessness discussions is an essential staple for the health of children, diapers.
Babies of Homelessness is supporting the emotional wellbeing of the fastest-growing and least-visible segment of those who are unsheltered— families with children.
Diaper need is a hidden and silent crisis that disproportionately affects families experiencing homelessness. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, an estimated 1 in 3 families struggles to provide enough diapers to keep a child clean, dry, and healthy.
Diapers are a necessity for every infant, yet diapers are not allowable expenses for SNAP or WIC. Additionally, the majority of early child care programs require an adequate supply of diapers for child attendance but do not provide diapers to families in need. Babies go through a lot of diapers and an adequate supply of diapers costs $80 a month. For a single mother working full time at the federal minimum wage, the cost of diapers represents >6% of her gross pay.*
Imagine as a mother or father that you are down to your last diaper and are dreading how long you need to make that single diaper last. Diapers are not optional for a baby. For many families, the either/or choice between putting gas in the car to get to work or purchasing another box of diapers is all too real. As a result, parents are having to stretch the time between diaper changes where babies are sitting in wet and soiled diapers or repurposing soiled diapers which can lead to health issues including rashes and infections. The stress of diaper rash and the experience of diaper need are associated with parental anxiety and elevated levels of maternal depressive symptoms.
While much of the world has seemingly stopped, we cannot. During the pandemic, we have continued to make deliveries. More than 1,000, in fact, and every month we are delivering more diapers free of charge to partner agencies and families.
We provide an adequate supply of diapers proving a tangible way of reducing parenting stress, a critical factor influencing child health and development so that parents can focus on being the best parents possible and attaining long term needs like navigating housing and other vital services.*