MEET OUR NEW HOMELESSNESS/MENTAL HEALTH OUTREACH WORKER - PAIGE KILLINGER
When the Ballard Alliance began planning the creation of the Ballard Improvement Area, a mental health/homelessness outreach position was at the forefront of the major objectives the organization sought to address.
To that end, we would like to introduce Paige Killinger, our Ballard Outreach Case Manager. The Ballard Alliance has joined efforts with the experienced team of professionals at REACH.
REACH provides street-based, case management and outreach services to adults living outside in the greater Seattle area and is a part of the Evergreen Treatment Services organization. This partnership will help us provide services to the most vulnerable in our community, as well as, help address the impacts upon our local businesses and residents.
Alliance Executive Director Mike Stewart said: "During our initial planning, it was our hope to fund a half-time outreach worker focused on the Ballard area. Through our partnership with REACH, we were able to leverage our funding to secure a match from the King County Department of Health. We've essentially doubled our anticipated service levels and are creating a model program that we hope will be emulated by other neighborhood improvement districts across the city."
Paige works exclusively with the Ballard neighborhood. Originally from Salt Lake City, she has worked for youth organizations in Texas where she began her career in helping others in need. Paige now calls Seattle home and said: "Upon arriving in Ballard I was immediately struck by the tight-nit, neighborly feeling of the community."
Her passion is to help those who are in difficult situations find a voice and connect them to the services they need. Monday through Friday you will see Paige throughout the Central Ballard core conducting outreach to the neighborhood's homeless community and also talking and working with business owners and residents.
As an Outreach Manager, Paige will meet her clients where they are at and helps them to create achievable goals with realistic timelines. "Homelessness is a multifaceted issue and it can happen to anyone," Paige said. "I have met with people who grew up in Ballard and had professions, but different circumstances, such as a heart attack and mounting medical bills, led them to a life of homelessness. All of my client's needs are different, so my job begins with reaching out to them, having a conversation and building trust."
Paige's top priority is to connect the homeless in our community with resources on a case-by-case basis.
Bridging the Gap
Paige described her role as bridging a gap. "Some of the folks that I work with may be able to afford renting an apartment but cannot get a lease because they do not have an ID or an address to reference. So I have worked with this person and the landlord to bridge that gap," said Paige.
In her free time, Paige volunteers at St. Luke's serving breakfast. She says "it helps keep her compass straight" and she is consistently reminded that "there is always a back story with everyone" she meets.
She shared that it is always important to remember the human aspect to the homeless issue.
Paige hopes that having open conversations about homelessness is the first step in making sure everyone in our neighborhood is taken care of -
residents, business owners and the homeless community alike. "My favorite part of my job is being able to work with a vast demographic of the Ballard community - using my skills to bring aide to those on the streets as well as the local business owners in the area. Together we can create a stronger, better and safer community," said Paige.
If you see Paige in the neighborhood, feel free to welcome her and introduce yourself. Her passion for the work that she does is infectious and she looks forward to getting to know everyone in the neighborhood.
Business owners and residents are encouraged to reach out to Paige with any questions, concerns or ideas. She has set up office hours at the Ballard Library and all are welcome on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. until noon or you can call or email her.