I was asked to shoot some pictures for a detox facility in Seattle Washington. They were preparing a presentation for their parent company, and wanted professional photos detailing their typical work night. I grossly underestimated what consisted of a typical work night for this facility.
The facility (shown above) provides a place for Seattle's intoxicated homeless to sleep for the night. The majority of the clients this facility caters to are alcoholics who have nowhere else to sleep on a cold winter night. The clients arrive, and are processed by the staff. Their information is taken, their vitals checked, and their possessions are placed into plastic bags for them to retrieve in the morning. All alcohol must be handed over on admittance. Some clients return regularly. The entire process can be quite routine.
There is a surprising amount of compassion shown while the employees interact with the clients. The employees are patient and show genuine concern, even though the clients can sometimes be unresponsive or even belligerent. Many clients can arrive at any given time. The employees provide each with equal attention. Some clients arrive and are too intoxicated to answer the questions asked during the intake process. The employees must monitor them closely, as well as determine whether they are fit to stay for the night or if they need medical attention.
The rooms where they sleep (shown above) are minimal. They are provided mats to sleep on, and access to a toilet. Privacy is minimal, as the employees need to monitor the clients closely to ensure their health and safety. On occasion, a client can become hostile. When this occurs they are barred from the facility. This night, an individual who had previously been barred attempted to gain admittance. When turned away, he remained outside the facility and slashed the tires of several vehicles parked in the lot. Two of these vehicles were owned by employees working on shift that evening. The police were called, but the individual was gone by the time they arrived.
Despite these occasionally violent occurrences, employees remain inviting and positive. The majority of the clients are thankful for the help they receive.
I enjoyed photographing for this facility, there aren't many times when you are able to document an aspect of life that many people will never experience. I am grateful for the experience.