Starbucks Expands Efforts to Support Seattle’s Chronic Homelessness Crisis

starbucks logo on wall

  • Provides update on hometown efforts in the greater Seattle area to support those experiencing chronic homelessness by bolstering its commitment of nearly $500K in programming and partnerships throughout 2022
  • Invests in new Partnership for Zero collaboration, led by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), focused on drastically reducing homelessness in King County
  • Expands support to fund greater housing access locally and enters new partnerships to increase dignified access to basic needs

Starbucks Coffee Company today shared a series of updates on programs and partnerships focused on addressing the root causes of chronic homelessness in its hometown of Seattle, Washington. Building on the company’s 50-year legacy of work to strengthen and uplift its local community, Starbucks announced nearly a half a million dollars of investments that will take place throughout 2022 to advance solutions that support those experiencing chronic homelessness in the greater Seattle region.

“In listening to our partners, customers and community members, we know that chronic homelessness is the most pressing challenge facing our hometown,” said Camille Hymes, Starbucks vice president of community impact. “Our neighbors need us – now more than ever – and we are committed to using our scale for good to drive necessary changes in our hometown, as we’ve always aimed to do.”

Over the last four years, chronic homelessness has risen at an annual rate of 42% in Seattle-King County – the second fastest in the United States. The Starbucks community investments total to nearly $500K to address this major issue, including:

  • Partnering with the We Are In Coalition: Starbucks believes in the power of public-private partnerships and is joining the We Are In coalition to dramatically reduce chronic homelessness in King County. ​Specifically, the company’s seed funding investment will support the implementation of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s (KCRHA’s) Partnership for Zero project, a new united approach to dramatically reduce homelessness. The collaboration will start in downtown Seattle with a goal to later expand throughout King County.
  • Supporting dignified access to basic needs: Starbucks is expanding support to nonprofits providing dignified access to basic needs including bathrooms, showers, and laundry services for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. Starbucks investments in Urban Rest Stop will support a program that operates hygiene centers in downtown and Ballard​. The Starbucks Foundation is also working to expand access to mobile showers and wrap around services for individuals experiencing homelessness across King County, reaching people where they are.​
  • Ensuring access to housing: Starbucks and The Starbucks Foundation have been working for years with nonprofit organizations like Mary’s Place, Wellspring Family Services and United Way of King County to connect unsheltered families to critical resources and care to help them move into stable, permanent and safe housing. The company is now expanding its commitments to the chronically homeless population by supporting Plymouth Housing. These investments will support Plymouth Housing’s behavioral health program and rapid growth and staffing needs to expand housing locations by early 2023.

Additionally, Starbucks is continuing to learn from its existing Outreach Worker pilot program, which is currently active in seven cities across the country including in Seattle in partnership with Catholic Community Services. This program, launched back in 2020, aims to support store partners in high-incident stores by connecting them to outreach workers who bring expertise in hyper-local social work and can support customers with critical needs, while decreasing non-critical reliance on law enforcement.

“Addressing chronic homelessness is not a singular problem or one that we can solve alone,” said Hymes. “It’s our role and responsibility to stay true to our mission and values to strengthen the communities we serve, and we are committed to providing immediate support while investing in areas that will catalyze systemic change.”

Since the beginning, Starbucks has been committed to strengthening its hometown, and these investments are a demonstration of Starbucks support for its partners, customers and community members in the greater Seattle area. Over the years, Starbucks has focused its community efforts on pressing issues in its hometown including supporting unsheltered families and youth programming, addressing food insecurity, and supporting COVID-19 response and equitable vaccine distribution across Washington state. Starbucks partners are also engaged in the local community through volunteer events throughout the year and are active participants in The Starbucks Foundation’s Neighborhood Grants program, supporting more than 30 grants in the Seattle region to grassroots, community-led nonprofit organizations addressing homelessness in the past year.