Mayor and County Executive Declare a Homelessness State of Emergency

Comments

1
smart move. can't wait to hear what the FEMA angle will cough up from the GOP Klown Kar.
2
Perfectly timed on the eve of an election!

Well done liberals!

Seatroit here we come!

3
Long past time to replace all Seattle cemeteries with affordable housing developments. The land is for the living!
4
I'm glad they are looking at permitting Tiny House rental spots in all driveways of SFH zoned residential buildings who pledge not to drive, to allow for housing
5
Apodments for everyone!
6
Will using state of emergency funding really help the issue? 3 of the largest cities on the West Coast have now declared a homelessness state of emergency. This makes me wonder if it is indeed a state of emergency as opposed to the new status quo. If it is the latter, treating it like the former will cause more harm than good as funding will end up misused due to priorities being misplaced.
We need to be realistic about the levels and causes of homelessness before we can start to end homelessness.
7
This quote had me scratching my head:

'She said homelessness falls "disproportionately [on] women, men, and families of color." '
It's an odd statement to say homelessness mostly affects males and females. That seems obvious.
8
@3

Funny you mention this - a couple of weeks ago a friend and I were discussing the lack of affordable housing and I wondered out loud when we (as a society) would stop using massive tracts of land to bury dead people,or start re purposing cemeteries because it is completely unsustainable.
10
I've got a house so who am I to talk smack on something I know nothing about, but that hasn't stopped anyone on the internet ever...
I'm hoping that this actually does something to keep people from sleeping on the streets. Addicts in treatment, families in subsidized housing, mentally ill in therapy with stable housing, etc, but it seems like too much of the effort in Seattle is contradicted by some of the very groups supposedly looking out for the homeless. Groups like SHARE aren't looking to end homelessness, but instead just want to make it accepted. They consider it a viable lifestyle and don't do any work whatsoever to get their people into permanent housing. That was the answer from SHARE when asked about long term goals at a Ballard community forum on homeless camps a few years ago.
I'm sure the other groups aren't as extreme as that, but if we're going to be spending money on this and are serious about doing something of value, we need to be looking at long term fixes as well as immediate needs. A tent camp is fine if that's all you can do while you get permanent housing sorted out, but that tent camp can't be the end goal.
11
@10

I think its also important to ask why some people don't want to be housed - or at least, don't use what limited services are available.

In addition to the lack of shelter beds for women/families/single parents, services often require that you be sober (it is difficult someone to get/stay sober without stable housing), don't allow pets, and do not have a safe storage space for belongings.

Its no good to simply build housing, shelter, or services - you need to ask the people who will use the services what they need, instead of assuming you (we, society) know best.
12
So I am really confused. A tally of homeless counted 3700 homeless in people in the county and 3000 on them are students in SPS? Who is lying to whom? This just doesn't make any sense. Sounds like this emergency is being brought to us by the same marketing firm repping Prop. 1.
13
@3 & 8
You fool! ...Did you not see the movie "Poltergeist!.
14
I think the main focus needs to be different shelters for different needs. The point of a community, is coming together and helping one-another. Between mental health, addiction and cost of living rising sky high- a lot of these factors need to be involved when it comes to fixing this issue. Caring about people and allowing everyone to have the chance to get healthy and proper help, is what every human-being deserves.
15
@12, There were 3700 people sleeping on the streets, meaning they were not in shelters or vehicles. I presume the majority of those 3000 homeless children are in shelters or vehicles, not sleeping on the streets. You're comparing different sets of numbers. No one is lying to you about this problem.

It's a complicated issue, and it's unfortunate how many people aren't willing to think for a few extra minutes about it before making absurd, paranoid claims.
16
@12/15- Couch surfing students also count as homeless. They might have a roof over their head for the moment, but they don't have a home.
18
@17:

"...the problem grows larger with every extra dollar we spend." Ah, is that some sort of Libertarian pretzel-logic? Because the conclusion to that would be to just just stop spending any money whatsoever, then homeless people would magically disappear!

And is it also your contention human beings who make mistakes deserve nothing more than to live like animals on the streets? If so, how does it feel to be a high-functioning sociopath?
19
@17, The problem with the "personal responsibility" argument is that what is the cutoff? You chose to work for the only company hiring, but they don't pay you enough to live, so you deserve to starve? I'd much rather live in a society where we help everyone get to be better off regardless of some of their choices or circumstances.
There's a wide spectrum of people who end up homeless and even though the chronic street drunks and crazies are the highest profile, they're actually not the largest number of homeless. You wouldn't even be able to tell who they are most of the time since they don't look like the street drunks. A lot of homeless people actually have jobs, they just don't make enough to afford a roof over their head because of the first/last/security deposit or bad credit keep them out. There's a lot of people who are responsible but circumstances and luck combine at the wrong time to horrible results. Oh, but they made that choice, so fuck 'em! Right?
20
All you're really doing is feeding pigeons. You keep feeding them and more show up. It's called the Homeless Industrial Complex and it's why these west coast cities are so overrun with human trash. We need camps like in Cool Hand Luke or some sort of Joe Arpaio thing. Teach them a lesson.
21
100 more shelter beds, and no more housing. Case management and LEAD won't help if there's not enough shelter or housing to refer people to.
22
@20: Homeless are human trash did you say?
23
The "personal responsibility" argument is cynical and craven and a justification to excuse the fact that you just don't care and don't want to care.

I am thrilled at this announcement, especially since Constantine is involved. He has good ideas.

And I second the notion about the cemeteries. Enough taking up of the space. Veterans' cemeteries, sure. Everybody else should be incentivized to opt for cremation.
24
Even the most industrious and self-disciplined cultures in the world experience homelessness. Tokyo has a far lower homelessness rate than that of major cities in the US (e.g, New York). Unfortunately, the differences between the US and Japan are vast, with the Japanese Constitution guaranteeing minimum standards of living, as well as there being cultural differences in family structure. I'm not saying their way is the "right" way, but maybe it's an improvement.
25
#17, I was actively helping homeless 14-15 year olds back in the mid to late 1990s. Most of them had been physically or sexually abused by their parents. So no, we are not allowed to discuss returning children to abusive homes after those children have been arrested for various crimes. To even discuss it would be barbaric.
26
Jesus Seattle is filled with selfish, hateful pieces of shit with high speed Internet connections they didn't build and don't fucking deserve.

Mount Rainier can't erupt soon enough and give these assholes a taste of what it feels like to be the one in need. I would pay so much to see some fucking Ballard NIMBY knee deep in pyroclastic flows, waiting in line at a Red Cross soup kitchen and stopped by the god damn bouncer and told he needs to produce some fucking proof he's really worth helping.

Yeah, that's right, fuckers: America opened their checkbooks to help Seattle in their time of need but there's strings attached this time and you Seattle motherfuckers aren't ALL getting help. Only the ones who can prove they've got character. Grit. And can contribute something we can use.

The rest of you are going to fucking die, of fucking exposure, on live TV.
28
#27, the local police were aware of the reports of abuse, yes.

I'm not sure "attention getting" is precisely what girls having to trade drugs and sometimes sex just to find a warm place to sleep in the winter are thinking about.

You put quotes around "rules", yet this is a word I literally never used. I wish to know more about this. What "rules" are you talking about? Why are they so important to you that you would invent their existence in our conversation? What gives you this massive drive to redirect the conversation so?

I agree these children belonged somewhere safer than the streets. Part of that did involve giving them faith in themselves, and showing them that they could accomplish more than life on the streets. That's what ended up having the most success. Not giving them over to any foster or legal system.
29
@10, the organizers of tent encampments have enough to do as it is; they don't have time to look for housing (which pretty much isn't available) or to be case managers. They also manage 15 congregation-based indoor shelters. In the three additional tent encampments that will soon be in place, LIHI will be the case management organization, and hopefully will be able to provide housing for some tent residents, as they have done the last few years. Tent encampments are very good at giving people shelter off the street. If they didn't exist, we'd have many more dying each year than do already. No one -- NO ONE -- is claiming that tents are a solution to anything but the lack of enough shelter and housing. Tent encampments also expect their residents to share in the responsibility of rule-making and keeping the camps safe and clean. I've seen the list of rules under which they operate, and I'd bet they're stricter than how you run your own house. But as you admit, who are you to talk smack about something you know nothing about.
30
While this declaration by Seattle and King County is welcome in that it acknowledges the crisis in homelessness that has existed for some time, the funding being proposed is not adequate to meet the need for immediate survival shelter.

Seattle has $100 million in its "rainy day fund". If this is truly an emergency and it is then some portion of that fund should be used to augment the funds already identified. I hope the Seattle City Council will consider doing this today as it considers approving the Mayor's proposal.
31
@27, who said "@19 - I've got a few close friends that get by on less than full time at minimum wage and manage to keep a roof over their heads."
That's great. I did too when I was young. I also knew people who did well then didn't. They were able to borrow money or crash with friends or family because they had those options available. Not everyone does. Take someone with no savings, a drug arrest on their record, and limited skills who suddenly lose their job. Without friends and family they're completely screwed in this country. How would they get an apartment? How'd they even share a place if they're not young?
Saying that the "personal responsibility" option is available to everyone is a crock of shit. It is for some, maybe even most of us, but everyone's situation is unique and doesn't always work out that well. I'll grant you that there are a lot of street drunks and addicts who aren't really working that hard to improve themselves, but you just can't paint everyone who is homeless with that same brush. It's a wide spectrum of circumstances and we can at least try to do something for the people who want out of that situation.
32
A family with kids can't afford housing in Seattle on even two minimum-wage jobs. It doesn't matter if the two (or one) adults have never taken a drink, a drug, never needed mental illness treatment, and never been arrested. If they can't pay for housing, they become homeless. Families with kids like this are having to wait for months to get some kind of temporary housing in the non-profit market. For those of you who believe that homelessness is a choice, what would you say to a 10-year-old from one of these families?
33
@32, We need to discuss another thing here...location. I know it would be hard to find a place to live in Seattle on a minimum wage income, but does it really need to be in Seattle proper? What about Kent? Shoreline? Puyallup? Tacoma? There are other places to live around here besides Seattle itself. It sucks that we're becoming an exclusive city and I want to see more affordable options, but even with the money and will to make it happen, could we even guarantee a place for everyone within the city limits?
We should obviously make more affordable options available within the city, but being realistic we also need to look at the larger area and make it livable for everyone too with better transit options.