Don't Feed the Homeless Where the Homeless Are


Operation Lunch Sack has been providing free meals under the freeway by Cherry and 6th for years.
Courthouse park is hardly the 'epicenter' of Seattle's homeless population, as romantic as it sounds; church groups, decent a their intentions may be, work parallel --- and definitely not in tandem --- with social services in this area, often displaying a good deal of confusion as to what kinds of engagement is most needed. Bag lunches and hot dogs are nice, but starvation is not an urgent concern for the overwhelming majority of homeless in our city; housing is. Ask how the pious vote.
Invite the into *your* office and feed them *there*, bum-boy.
I prefer to give out meals to the homeless in their origin place - the Eastside of Lake Washington.
City officials say the restriction is nothing new, and that Bread of Life simply operated in the park for three years without being caught or reported.

I wonder if this is a bit of Mark Sidran's legacy? Anyway, if they were in violation for three years, but simply never "caught or reported," I'd take that as a sign that the law is out of step with the actual expectations of both Seattle's citizenry and the downtown interests.
@2) I can't think of any location in Seattle where homeless people congregate more than that park and the surrounding block.
Mr Holden, the D.T. public library main branch comes to mind.
Hey @2 - but under the freeway Operation Sack Lunch doesn't preach to the hungry, they just feed them (Health Code compliantly, even).

Wouldn't be surprised if Bread of Life has preferred to go it alone, so they can make every hungry belly person hear about Jeeeeebus before they get to eat.

And didn't we have a brouhaha one or two years ago that was kind of the same thing, Xtian outreachers offering food in a park? I thought it was that very park, even, but I can't remember. Off to Google I go.

bruce's buddy george giving us todays tip yo:

"A well-known and well-meaning cadre may shout “shame on you” at the City Council for enacting a ban on camping on public property, but we suspect the vast majority of Olympia’s citizenry is quietly pleased with the city’s actions and the message it sends."

"The camping ban, coupled with recent changes to the city’s sidewalk ordinance, are already having a positive effect for business and property owners in the downtown core."…
It's better to encourage the homeless to seek out food and help rather than going to them and reinforcing complacency in their lives. They aren't saying don't feed the poor. Just do it on a more appropiate, controlled, and much safer place. How's the saying go? "Beggars can't be choosers." Giving a panhandler a dollar, or food in the street, or park just disincentivizes that person to seek out the help they really need.
We do have some fairly well fed homeless people as compared to other cities. (If you can call feeding people cheap high fat and carb food being well fed)

But the city can't bitch until the city can put the homless into affordable housing.
I work for a shelter very very close to this park and think moving the mealsite is a great idea. #2 nailed it. Please try not to romanticize the "homeless struggle". It's insulting.
@13) I've advocated for the outdoor meal site in the past, and I think it's great. But I'm not convinced that all meal services should be provided under the terms that they're most convenient for government. Sometimes it makes sense to deliver services right to where people are. Do I believe that's what should happen in this case? I'm not sure, and this post doesn't claim to make the pronouncement. Who's romanticizing homeless people? You're the one who's ginning up that silly idea. Not me.
Sometimes it makes sense to deliver services right to where people are.

Is the freeway site really that far away? Do you have any examples of the freeway site seriously inconveniencing hungry homeless people? Your argument makes sense when discussing the city developing low income housing in Magnolia (rather than in Belltown, Downtown, and Pioneer Square, where low income services are actually located), but asking homeless people to walk a few blocks for a meal is hardly a fate worse than death.
Yet another attempt to criminalize homelessness. If they were giving out free meals to businessmen nobody would care.
@14: "...and this post doesn't claim to make the pronouncement."

Bullshit. In your usual sarcastic, everyone-is-stupid-but-me tone that's exactly what you were doing. Now your backpedaling.
Feed the pigeons and then wonder why you have a pigeon problem.
If it was a for profit business setting up every day in a park the Stranger would be all up in their business about it.
It's great that there are people willing to feed the homeless, but striking a realistic balance between the impact on the park and the effectiveness of serving meals to the homeless is reasonable. This case ranks pretty low on the outrage meter.
Can we just encourage the people who feed them to pick up after them as well? I swear if I trip over another Hot n' Ready pizza box with 3/4 of a pizza still in it, dropped in the middle of the sidewalk.... well, I'll probably just keep walking as usual. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna like it.
@14 I promise I'm not trolling and I apologize if my post was too vitriolic. I think #11 was able to articulate how I feel better than I can. Dominic, I don't think you have some sinister agenda but sometimes when people talk about homeless rights they tread a fine line between making a good point and further stigmatizing the homeless population by putting them on a sympathy pedestal, which can be kind of condescending. Anyway, even if we don't agree your coverage of this largely ignored part of Seattle is appreciated.
The under-the-freeway feed zone is inconvenient for many homeless who are not the ones living under the off ramp there, in particular the disabled, who are faced with a hill. And now with no more Ride Free Zone now the meal isn't free unless you're walking. The primary problem with feeding the homeless isn't that there's not enough food, it's logistics.
As someone who works near City Hall Park (not Courthouse Patk as a prior commenter posted), that park is terrible. Essentially, only the homeless use it. And drug dealers. There's public urination and defecation as well as drug sales snd drug use. All this one block from City Hall. And last year the Council wasted time to discuss smoking abd spitting in Parks because "they need to be a healthy place for families to enjoy the outside." yea, right!
I'm pretty sure when you stop feeding the homeless people at a single spot in the city it means that they never show up there again. Why address the problem of homelessness when it's twice as easy just to not look at them? Fancy people work in that courthouse, why not taking some time out of your perfect day to think about the hardship of those workers! They have to get paid 6 figure salaries to put people they don't like in jail forever and you're just taunting them with these homeless people who haven't yet done anything to break the law to increase their business! It must be torture, such a gold mine of people to put behind bars and yet none of them are yet breaking enough laws for you to catch them. Why not make the action of them eating illegal and discourage it? Fuck why even stop there, I don't see them paying taxes who says they get to breathe? Take their ass to that courthouse and demand compensation for my years of providing air for them without so much as a thank you! The nerve of some people, trying to live or whatever, why don't they just get on the magical job train? Fuck.
"public urination and defecation as well as drug sales snd drug use"

That sounds like every park I've ever been to in Seattle, I know it's worse in that park, but please don't act like we need to treat this park special because it's next to a fancy building with important people. There are much better ways to deal with and even control the scope of what homeless people do and I would hope the goal would be a long term solution. This new policy enforcement will only cause more problems, even if the site gets cleaned up for a week or 2 you'll never solve the problem. Maybe that's your point? What happens when you run out of bandaids, can we help solve the homeless problem then?