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Fix Homelessness How to rebuild human lives

Safe at Home, Kaylee’s Family Speaks Out

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Long Journey Home

The last time we saw 32 year old Kaylee Gordon, she was high on drugs, covered in dirt, and being put on a stretcher in downtown Seattle.

Today she is safely back home in Wyoming and is on the road to recovery. Gordon met her niece and nephew for the first time. She also knows her entire family loves her and there is no more reason to run. They just sent me these photos and wanted me to thank everyone involved in this incredible search and intervention that saved her life. Especially, Seattle Police (@SeattlePD,) street preacher Matthew Meneicke, and homeless outreach workers Kristine Mooreland (@kmmoreland) and Andrea Suarez (@weheartseattle.) Gordon also had a chance to review the videos that showed this low point in her life. Her family says seeing this raw reality is one of the primary reasons why she’s getting ready to go into detox and is planning to stay away from Seattle for a very long time.

The rampant open air drug use and lawlessness in the city is just too much for anyone trying to get better. The pathway to the streets is far and wide. There is no one size fits all. But in Gordon’s case, it was broken relationships and drug addiction, not an affordable housing crisis. Since my coverage, multiple families have reached out to me saying they recognized their loved ones getting high or slumped over in my videos. But for various reasons, they just weren’t ready to go through this arduous process of bringing them back home. I told them I would be available to always help and get the word out. At the very least, connect them with the right people making a difference.

Point is, there are hundreds of other Kaylee Gordon’s on the streets of Seattle. Never give up on them or lose hope. It’s obviously not easy and there are no guarantees. But there is a way out. The proof of concept is right here. The family has invited me to Wyoming later this year, to finish telling this story.

Father’s Journey

Kaylee’s dad is a proud man but extremely private. It took a lot for him to share this social media post. He describes the desperate measures he was willing to take in order to save his daughter. Instead, Kaylee had enough of the streets and chose to leave Seattle on her own. Seeing her dad and brother simply waiting with open arms, was enough for her to jump in the car and never look back. For other families facing a similar journey, there is so much red tape and bureaucracy. The state system that’s supposed to save people on the streets is broken.

Saved By Grace

September 3, Kristine Moreland and her volunteers found Gordon in downtown Seattle. A few days later, her family says the hospital released Gordon without notifying them. Moreland helped find Gordon again and connected her with fam.

How We Got to This Point

Volunteers searched for Kaylee Gordon in Seattle, Federal, and Burien. Now the challenging road to recovery begins.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.