Compass Rose
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Apr 18 Compass Rose commented on A Neighborhood Group Was Mapping Where Homeless People Live—Until I Asked Them About It.
@25, if SPD's advice to Ballard residents is to arm themselves, that speaks to how bad the situation has gotten.

I live in central Ballard, and over the past year, within a six-block radius of my home, we've had: several unsanctioned encampments occupied by heroin and meth addicts, rampant property crime (how do you think those folks feed their habits, Heidi?), a dead woman who OD'd and was stuffed in a shopping cart near the Ballard bridge by two upstanding gentleman living in an RV nearby (who have since been charged), ODs in bathrooms at least two establishments; a meth addict who punched a woman in the face, an unregistered sex offender living at the Ballard locks in a tent, tweaked-out campers who came out of the woods and chased a friend of ours while he was walking along the Burke-Gilman one evening, frequent open drug dealing and drug use at Ballard Commons park, addicts crapping on the streets, piles of trash and needles scattered around.

All of this is within a six-block radius of where I live. I don't know what kind of bubble you live in, Heidi, or whether you think the current situation is just fine, but most people don't, particularly those of use living in areas that are being hard hit by these issues.
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Apr 16 Compass Rose commented on A Neighborhood Group Was Mapping Where Homeless People Live—Until I Asked Them About It.
@11, as a proud self-declared YIMBY, what exactly is it that you're advocating for? What do you want in your backyard? Heroin and meth? Needles and human waste on the ground? Homeless encampments? Trash, property crime, graffiti?

No, I didn't think so.
Mar 31 Compass Rose commented on City Calls Nonprofit's Closure of 15 Homeless Shelters an Unnecessary "Advocacy Move".
Heidi Groover, you might be interested in the letter that Catherine Lester, the HSD director, sent to SHARE yesterday. According to Lester, the city wasn't notified by SHARE until yesterday that it was (allegedly) having financial problems. SHARE failed to notify the city about this while planning to close down 15 shelters? Something smells very fishy.

The letter reads as follows:

March 30, 2016
Michele Marchand SHARE Organizer shelters@sharewheel.org

Dear Michele,

Thank you for your recent correspondence about the SHARE/WHEEL’s financial situation and your decision to close shelters funded by the City of Seattle.

The City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) invests $610,932 in shelter support to SHARE/WHEEL. This investment funds 90,555 bed-nights per year (serving roughly 249 people every night). HSD had not received any communication from SHARE/WHEEL until today requesting additional funding nor indicating an inability to continue to provide City services at the level agreed to in your 2016 contracts. It is the City’s expectation that SHARE/WHEEL shelters funded by the City remain open 365 nights a year, and that individuals experiencing homelessness have access to those beds. It is also the City’s expectation that participation in advocacy and protests are not a requirement for people to access shelter. At this time, the City does not have any additional funding for SHARE/WHEEL shelter operations or the funds to pay any of SHARE/WHEEL’s debts. Additionally, the City will not reimburse you for nights you choose to close City-funded shelters.

SHARE/WHEEL’s funding is part of HSD’s 2016 investment of more than $50 million to assist single adults, youth, families, domestic violence survivors, seniors and veterans currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness. These dollars provide more than 1,800 emergency shelter beds each night that serve 14,000 unduplicated individuals a year; pay for food and meals services; support day centers that provide showers, laundry, and a safe place to rest; and fund programs that can help people find jobs and permanent housing. Housing is expensive in Seattle, but our successful rapid rehousing programs pay for move-in costs, utilities and rent. HSD also funds proactive programs that help people stay in their homes and avoid eviction.

Our region’s current needs outweigh shelter capacity, leaving too many seniors, families and individuals sleeping on the street and in vehicles. The 2016 One Night Count conducted on January 29th found that 4,505 individuals (including 29 children) were living outside of shelters in King County, a 19% increase from 2015 (after a 21% increase from 2014). The majority of these individuals were counted in the City of Seattle.

This led Mayor Murray to take action by declaring a “State of Emergency” and allocating new resources to address the homelessness crisis. The additional dollars will provide resources in three major areas—addressing critical policy issues, creating additional shelter capacity, and funding innovative and proactive strategies.

The City is currently analyzing all homeless investments and expanding data collection to ensure resources are targeted at the most effective strategies and agencies. Seattle is also launching a new effort to reduce administrative burden on agencies by allowing non-profit partners to provide a range of services under portfolio contracts. This progressive engagement model combines a portfolio of services aimed at making homelessness rare, brief, and one-time, including diversion, shelter, rapid rehousing, housing search and employment navigation. Administrative efficiencies will be created through a single contract for combined services.

To quote your organization’s messaging, “Without shelter, people die.” Therefore, we cannot officially condone any attempt to take away a roof overhead and an indoor space from people experiencing homelessness. The City of Seattle is making every effort to create safe indoor spaces for people experiencing homelessness. This threat of closure goes against these efforts and cannot be supported. Closure of these shelters conveys a lack of partnership in the effort to end homelessness in this region.

I hope your organization will reconsider your actions this week, and work with your funders on resolution while keeping your programs operational.

Sincerely, Catherine Lester
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Mar 31 Compass Rose commented on City Calls Nonprofit's Closure of 15 Homeless Shelters an Unnecessary "Advocacy Move".
How do we do this in a way that's sustainable, asks Tim Harris (who can't seem to do a single interview without at least one F bomb)?

Easy. Immediately stop funding SHARE, and divert that funding to another organization that can run shelters and is also focused on moving people into permanent housing, versus one whose mission is to run commune-style, "self-governing" communities. Public funding should NOT be supporting that.

It's time that funding is tied to outcomes. Any other approach is indefensible and ineffective. We've found that out the hard way in Seattle.
Feb 28 Compass Rose commented on Mayor Ed Murray Says Some Nextdoor Users Have Been "Working Themselves Into a Paranoid Hysteria".
It's bizarre (beyond being politically clueless and tone-deaf) that the mayor would accuse residents concerned about crime of being hysterical, given that just a week earlier, in his state of the city address he said that "many people" have told him that they no longer bother reporting property crimes because they think police won't respond. He also acknowledged that Seattle has one of the highest rates of property crimes in the country.

So for him to then turn around, in response to a blogger's own hysteria about being kicked off NextDoor (which was completely justified, since she was violating the site's rules) and say that Seattleites are hysterical is ridiculous. The reality is that property crime is out of control in some neighborhoods, including Ballard.

And it's not hard to figure out why. Seattle is in the midst of a heroin and meth epidemic. Drug addiction = property crime. Junkies have to feed the monster somehow, and the most messed up among them sure as hell aren't going off to work every day, earning a paycheck to fund their steady supply of black tar. They're doing that by stealing - breaking into cars and homes, ripping off stores and helping themselves to pretty much anything that isn't nailed down, from bikes to packages to mail. (One north Ballard resident looked out her window a while back to see a car driving off with her shed on its roof).

So anyone who thinks property crime isn't up, regardless of what the city's stats might say, either doesn't understand how addiction works or has their head firmly lodged up their ass.
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Jan 7 Compass Rose commented on Last Night in Magnolia, Mike O'Brien Got Shouted at for Suggesting It's Wrong to Punish People for Being Homeless.
@61, I'm also a former journalist who has covered hundreds of public meetings in the past couple of decades. Your assessment is spot on. The Stranger has become FOX for the left.
Jan 7 Compass Rose commented on Last Night in Magnolia, Mike O'Brien Got Shouted at for Suggesting It's Wrong to Punish People for Being Homeless.
@57, we live in a city. There are bags all over and garbage cans in many places.

I suppose it's necessary to throw trash and needles on the ground too.
Jan 7 Compass Rose commented on Last Night in Magnolia, Mike O'Brien Got Shouted at for Suggesting It's Wrong to Punish People for Being Homeless.
@50, there's no excuse for shitting on the street unless someone is mentally challenged or otherwise incapacitated. It's not hard to find a bag to crap in and deposit in the garbage. Nor is it acceptable to toss garbage on the streets. When I'm out on Puget Sound, I don't toss my trash into the water; I collect it and deposit it in a receptacle.

We need to stop enabling uncivil, unsanitary behavior and hold people accountable for their actions.
Jan 7 Compass Rose commented on Last Night in Magnolia, Mike O'Brien Got Shouted at for Suggesting It's Wrong to Punish People for Being Homeless.
@37 gets it.

Another homeless woman was found stuffed in a shopping cart under the Ballard bridge in November. KIRO reported that there's now a murder investigation into her death involving an RV that's still parked in the area. The mobile chop shop that was operating outside the Ballard post office annex in October moved to Magnolia but is now back in Ballard in the exact same spot. It's occupied by meth addicts, one of whom was arrested on a felony warrant last weekend.

And people wonder why neighborhoods are upset?
Jan 7 Compass Rose commented on Last Night in Magnolia, Mike O'Brien Got Shouted at for Suggesting It's Wrong to Punish People for Being Homeless.
Every time I read the Stranger I'm reminded why I rarely do anymore.

This story is as predictably slanted as I'd expect and completely mischaracterizes the meeting, the sentiments expressed by organizers and the very real problems neighborhoods are having with some RVs. I live in central Ballard, and over the past couple of years the neighborhood has become overwhelmed with illegal encampments, piles of trash, needles and human waste, rampant theft and open drug dealing/drug use. So yeah, I'm a NIMBY. I don't want that in my backyard, and neither would any of you, I'm guessing.

How does not wanting unchecked criminal activity in one's neighborhood equate to a lack of compassion? Is it compassionate to condone criminality? To allow people to live in squalor because they choose not to go to shelters or sanctioned encampments? There is a large encampment along the missing link of the Burke Gilman trail that's been there for several months. There are rats, needles, human waste and large piles of garbage thrown around. It's right across the street from Bowman Refrigeration and the campers have extended their mess to their property as well.

The city sent an outreach team to the site more than a month ago and offered the campers services. Only 3 of them accepted; the other 9 said no thanks. So they've been allowed to remain there, living in squalor, openly shooting up and creating a public health and safety hazard. Is that what you folks consider compassionate or humane? The area looks like a third-world slum. But it's somehow heartless and uncaring to not want that in the neighborhood?

Mike O'Brien was met with hostility because he's been contacted repeatedly, over and over again, by residents - you know, the people he was elected to serve - and has been completely unresponsive. I've written him numerous times about these issues and have never gotten a response. He's too busy having stickers put on gas pumps and flying to Paris. He was met with hostility last night because he has no solutions or suggestions other than setting up portapotties and trash collection. He's an enabler with no vision or ideas.

Sally Bagshaw, on the other hand, acknowledged the public safety crisis that's impacting neighborhoods and promised to take action, as did the SPD, who also acknowledged that they know there's drug dealing and other criminal activity involving some of these RVs.

The organizers of the meeting made it very clear that the intent was not to focus on homelessness, but on the crime that is impacting neighborhoods and putting homeless people in particular at risk.

I'm compassionate, but I'm also frustrated with the city's lack of leadership and total lack of response to neighbors' very valid concerns. We are no longer willing to put up with the unchecked lawlessness and uncivil behavior that's been allowed to proliferate.
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