The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless is funded by BECU, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Seattle Foundation and the University of Washington. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over Project Homeless content.

To learn more about Seattle’s current homelessness crisis and how we got here, local author and nurse practitioner Josephine Ensign looked to the past.

You can hear all about her findings in a recent live discussion hosted by The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless that explored her third book, “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.” The narrative focuses on Seattle’s history of homelessness and health care over the last 160 years.

Watch the full recording of the April 14 event above.

You can learn more about Ensign’s findings in “Skid Road” and what inspired her work in a recent story by Project Homeless.

Seattle’s largest Hooverville was home to around 1,500 people and located south of Pioneer Square, next to the city’s largest garbage dump. People formed community there, starting their own volunteer fire department and establishing addresses. The people who lived there were pushed out, and the Hooverville was burned to the ground in 1941. (The Seattle Times file)
Local author’s ‘Skid Road’ is a look at Seattle’s homeless past

Throughout the discussion, we explored how Seattle’s leaders have answered essential questions throughout our history — like Whose responsibility is it to take care of our poorest? And how do we pay for it? — and we broke down how our past has impacted current views and methods for addressing health care and homelessness in the region.