That feeling – that investment in services and subsidized housing leads to more homelessness – is a myth, said Lia Musumeci. She’s a University of Washington student who’s working with Auburn on homelessness issues. The project is part of a larger initiative, Livable City Year, a UW program partnering with Auburn to help it as it grows. Musumeci said if Auburn were the only community trying to improve its services, then it could attract more homeless people to move to Auburn from within the region. But Auburn is not alone in its efforts. Homelessness is rooted in the rising cost of living and job instability, she said. We associate those problems with Seattle. They’re problems in Auburn, too, but their effects are easier to overlook there. “It’s so hard for people to understand how grave this problem is,” said Musumeci, because in the suburbs, “a lot of homeless people, especially homeless families, try to hide themselves.” She said that showing people the problem, and telling the stories of people who are homeless, can help.
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