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Native American shelter director calls for more culturally competent support

Tents line a small green space below Interstate 90 on May 17, 2016, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson/AP)
Tents line a small green space below Interstate 90 on May 17, 2016, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

A Native American homeless service provider is calling for more to be done to help the Native American homeless community.

Derrick Belgarde is executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a Native-led housing and human services agency in Seattle. He says more “culturally competent” support is needed to help Native Americans feel like they have a place in the system.

Until just last month, the Chief Seattle Club was set to close down, but fortunately received a last-minute funding boost to remain open — a vital lifeline to those experiencing homelessness. Native Americans have one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country but account for only 1.5% of North America’s population.

Belgard, who himself experienced homelessness and issues with substance use 15 years ago, joins host Deepa Fernandes to talk about causes and fixes to the crisis.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.