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Pearl Jam to donate $11M for Seattle homelessness

Vedder dedicated Pearl Jam's hit song to a homeless man named Eddie.
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KUOW photo/Casey Martin

When Pearl Jam returned to Seattle in August, the band wasn’t just intent on entertaining fans. Their two sold-out shows at Safeco Field were part of an initiative to raise money to address homelessness in the region.

With the help of 170 partners, including corporations, philanthropies, restaurants and small businesses, and thousands of individuals, the concerts raised $10.8 million.

“The Home Shows initiative is about bringing the issue of homelessness closer to all of us—increasing our understanding of a complex issue, our empathy for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, and our resolve for working together,” said Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard in a statement.

Nearly two months after the Home Shows concerts, Pearl Jam announced Thursday how that money will be spent.

Here’s the breakdown:

Most of the money has been pledged by Home Shows partners who helped raise the funds. Nearly $8 million has been designated by those partners to nearly 100 organizations addressing homelessness in Seattle and King County.

Food banks, meal programs, shelters, housing programs, and healthcare groups are among those funded.

Another $1.3 million will go towards addressing youth homelessness and funding diversion programs.

The band has devoted $600,000 to coordinated efforts that aim to prevent young people from becoming homeless, and to find long-term housing for young people who are homeless. Roughly 1,500 unaccompanied young people are homeless in King County on any given night.

Another $750,000 will go towards diversion programs, which aim to help people who have recently become homeless quickly leave the service system and get back into permanent housing.

Nearly $2 million remains unpledged, to be granted at a later date.

“We’re proud of what our city has done. Now we need to stay inspired," guitarist Stone Gossard said. "There’s a lot more to do."

Homelessness remains a huge issue in Seattle and King County, with more than 12,000 people homeless in the county on any given night. The City of Seattle has budgeted more than $86 million to help address the crisis in 2018.

The Home Shows came in the wake of a heated debate over the repealed head tax on large businesses that would have provided more than $45 million for affordable housing and homeless services in Seattle.

Amazon opposed the head tax. But last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also pledged money to help tackle homelessness. Bezos announced a $2 billion fund that will focus on homelessness and setting up preschools in underserved communities. There’s no indication that his fund will focus on Seattle, but Bezos did mention Mary’s Place, a local homeless family shelter organization, in his announcement of the fund. 

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