People's basic needs will be met. For example, they are going to take a dump somewhere and there's no helping it. Providing homeless people with sanitation facilities is not doing them a favor - its doing something that must be done.

I have personally cleaned up human waste left by the homeless more than once. That is a burden I'm obliged to bear because what else can I do? Just leave it? Its not the biggest deal in the world - I don't like cleaning gutters either. But it doesn't seem just to me that it falls only on people responsible for buildings in certain parts of the city. While people able to get the police to chase them out of their neighborhoods skate for free.

Maybe we can tear down a few more low rent apartments and more of those dumpy hotels around town in hopes that density will save the day? I mean that's what your publication has pushed for for over a decade, right?

And yes, I know those places were not great but you know what? People lived there because they didn't have any other options available to them. Once you tear them down what do you expect those people to do? Move to Bellingham or just disappear? The Density Advocates have some of the most short sighted plans for Seattle they act like members of the Bush Administration when deciding to invade Iraq.
The answer is to lower property taxes and provide tax incentives for single home owners to fix up a back garage into a cottage for a little home, or a basement, and for apartment owners to keep rents low.
To pay for the tax cut, the city could eliminate unneeded expenditures such as new bike paths where hardly any bikes travel anyway (line NE 15th), and lower corporate taxes for tourism and film making to bring in more sale tax revenue, increase car tab fees (yes, I did say that), and other creative ideas.
@3 Isn't it interesting how each new problem one encounters can be solved by advancing the same policy preferences one has in every other context?
it seems contradictory to ban propane heating and cooking in RVs. i get that's the fire marshall's rules, but that's basically how they work and why you have one. is the city providing electrical hookups?

@3: your proposal (except for the dumb "lower taxes" part) was one of the HALA proposals that freaked NIMBYs the fuck out.
Low-barrier shelter in action:
Seattle needs places like this. It took years of fighting the city and developers and NIMBYs to make it happen, but the results speak for themselves. It's amazing what happens when you treat homeless people like actual humans.
#6, I'm sure the organization will have an application in with the city.

Look at the empty, cavernous space above King Street Station the city bought for $10 from the BNSF railroad. Perfect for an apodments and needle exchange. Central spot, close to all the social services, with multiple buses and the new streetcar up to pill hill for treatments or a #36 direct to the VA. Easy access to the courts, food banks, and drugs.

It'll bring Seattle one step closer to Vancouver world class status with its own E. Hastings. Vancouver confines their problem children to one area. Cracks down big time elsewhere to keep the shine in shiny. Hence False Creek, Yaletown, North Van, the Kits, West End, Point Grey, Commercial, and all along the waterfront are so glossy.

Yes, Seattle, we can do it.
The only solution seems to be to allow drug use (not dealing) in at least some of the existing shelter areas. A covered outdoor pavilion could be provided for smokers of tobacco and weed. This would probably cover most of the jungle people. Those with severe mental issues should be provided with institutional care but probably most would reject it. If someone does not want help you can't force it on them.
#7 - taking the third option of hiding from society and its rules away

I think the writer is pointing out that there is a wish to impose MORE rules on these folks than typical members of society must follow. I'd want to hide big time too, if I had to follow all of those stupid, patronizing rules.
I'll just leave this here....
It's not just more compassionate -- it's…
stupid truncated link text:
-- it's...cheaper
One perspective shared with me from a friendly local homeless man I met when I lived on Airport Way:
Many men choose to be homeless due to child support. Having multiple children can very quickly add up to thousands of dollars in child support every month. In that circumstance, I can see the appeal of a job that pays under the table and living life without an address, social security number, etc, if it allows a person to keep all of the the wages they earn.

Ah, so what the homeless really want is to avoid caring for their own children!

From what I've seen, having a home certainly doesn't prevent anyone from doing that; why shouldn't these fellows have a place to come in out of the rain while they're at it? They're no different than any of the divorced TechDads living in luxury single-bedroom apartments downtown, are they?
Contrary to popular belief, no one owes you anything.

I love the tone of this article. "it is worth remembering that alcohol and weed are legal for those of us who are able to afford roofs over our heads". I got news for you, many of us have the freedom but lack the means for alcohol and weed. When you have responsibilities and financial issues weed and alcohol are less important than shelter and food. There are very real issues that this article discusses and disregards. If the city gives encampments in the city then the people must fallow the rules. TOUGH. So many people forget that life is hard. For those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs, we are breaking our backs to keep them. We don't get everything we want. That is life.

I believe that we should give more money to resources and be stricter on the rules. More to job training and less to live in our camp for free. How about live in the camp for free as long as you work four hours of community service a day. The rest of your day can be used for job training or doing nothing. Lets help the homeless, and then the homeless can help the city back.
It's expensive to live in Seattle. Truck them out somewhere cheap.

Instead of building/renovating housing in Magnuson park (place where we could be selling those units for millions), build cheap apartments far outside the city and help many, many more people instead of the few that win the lottery.
I think there does need to be some housing (or at least shelter) that is strictly free of substances of abuse, because there are recovering addicts who are trying to stay clean and aren't strong enough yet to say no to temptation, and there are plenty of *gasp* non-addict homeless people who don't want to be around drugs. But if we really want people who are still using to spend less time loitering around sidewalks, bus stops, and other public places (which is something basically everyone wants, whether out of sympathy or hate), then we have to pay to house them in less restrictive environments where they will actually go.

I know that a lot of people only want their tax dollars to go to something that sounds more punitive, but waiting for them to commit a violent crime and locking them up means waiting for a innocent bystander to be a victim. Not only that, but people released from jail often end up right back on the same streets.
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
- Anatole France
@16: Housing could be built far outside the city, but people who are just getting out of homelessness need other resources like transit, healthcare, employment, sometimes case managers, etc. Are we going to build all that in the middle of nowhere too?
I have a real question for slog readers: I live next to an elementary school that borders a large city park. Park land directly behind the school has become a camp - with multiple tents, trash, feces, and discarded syringes. Because of the issues this article raises, I struggle with reporting this encampment to the city. Part of me feels compassion to people at such a margin that they camp in the middle of blackberries with no facilities anywhere near by, but part of me says, geez, next to an elementary school? That just doesn't seem right. What would you do in this situation?
#16, there are homeless people in the burbs too. And then there's the pesky Constitution thing. (If we get more Scalias, we can fix this glitch.) But really shipping people out on buses (instead of trains) to some government built housing, minus the barb wire fence (though how will you keep them there?), makes our progressive, compassionate Mayor and his Court look a tad too heartless.

It's better to drive working poor and middle class out by institutional and proven capitalistic means. In fact give people housing vouchers once places like Yesler Terrace and low rent rentals are torn down in the city works beautifully. People can't find what they need in the city and move out to Federal Way and Seatac. Win-win.

So as you say, city property can be developed by developers and sold for millions and taxpayers might get enough money back to pay for Parks & Rec lawn maintenance. We still have handcrafted beer to showcase our back to the earth goodness and elementary school children can make toiletry kits for people living in bushes by their schools so they understand what compassion means and why it's important to stay in school.

Heidi Groover has shone a light into the darkness of the problems confronting people who are homeless in our fair city today as they wait for the political will to provide housing to develop. As she says, an adequate range of services are not yet available and it takes time to convince someone who does not trust the "system" that they can trust and accept help.

In the meantime, the public health and public safety issues need to be addressed. It's a "no brainer" to send in properly trained and equipped crews to clean up the hazardous waste and to work with people to determine what is trash that can be collected and disposed of and what are possessions that need to be left in place. Again it takes time to do these things properly.

As the cleanup of waste proceeds, sanitary facilities such as toilets and dumpsters need to be put in place and regularly serviced. Those of us who are housed expect that to be provided to our homes on a regular basis.

Also, lighting needs to be installed. That will enable folks to find those toilets and dumpsters at night and it will have the added advantage of discouraging the criminals from hiding in dark places and preying on the vulnerable. Regular police patrols wouldn't hurt either.

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