DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center)

DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center)

About Us

DESC works to end the homelessness of vulnerable people, particularly those living with serious mental illnesses or substance use disorders. Through partnerships and an integrated array of comprehensive services, treatment and housing, we give people the opportunity to reach their highest potential.

DESC is the largest multi-service agency serving homeless adults in the Pacific Northwest, reaching over 9,000 people annually with an array of state-licensed mental health and substance abuse treatment programs—including street outreach and engagement, crisis diversion and respite, case management, short-term and ongoing care, psychiatric assessment and treatment, supported employment, individual and group substance abuse counseling, 468 emergency shelter beds, and over 1,100 units of permanent supportive housing. DESC adheres to the Housing First philosophy, the belief that housing is a basic human right, not a reward for clinical success and once the chaos of homelessness is eliminated from a person's life, clinical and social stabilization occur faster and are more enduring.

DESC's innovative programs have earned recognition regionally and nationally. Every day at DESC we see what innovative clinical care and supportive housing can do: people who have been homeless for years regain their health, their dignity and their humanity. They reconnect with parents, children, brothers, sisters. They make friends, rediscover interests, and find work or other meaningful activity.

And when they recover their lives, the quality of life is improved for all of us. Our community becomes a better place in which to live and work.