News May 4, 2016 at 4:00 am

The City Pays a Specialized Company $240 Per Hour to Trash People's Stuff

Trashed: Someone lives here. the stranger


Did this go out for bid? Can we see the vetting process for the president and staff? Can we see their written protocol?
@1: If Murray's office or another government agency has copies of those records, then yes, we can see them.
Regardless of how the contract for this work was let, I find it disgusting to treat people this way.

Ironically, the Mayor's declaration of an emergency could preclude the need for competitive bidding.

I understand the Mayor considers the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day, to be his inspiration. This seems odd when one considers she is famous for saying "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system."

Just bite the leather and turn marymoor park into one big tent city with active 24x7 bus and hygiene and safety and counseling services. Give people a chance to make a better choices. It mostly looks like city money for the homeless goes to organizations which are judgemental and have a low awareness of how to help people. There is a homeless sandwich station next to cityhall and the diners jaywalk to it because there is no crosswalk or light to protect them.
@4 - Yes. Yes. Yes. Housing First. NOW.
@6, perhaps you should explain how Housing First (which is a laudable goal but requires actual funding, which we don't have) relates to what @4 said.
Glad to see this. Great start. There is zero right to camp and trash public property. There is zero right to a home in Seattle at public expense. Seattle differs from other places because the welcome mat is out. If the city were to play whack a mole with every illegal encampment, or word might get out that Seattle is not a sanctuary for those hohave lost their welcome elsewhere. Let's provide services and housing for the mentally ill and those demonstrating effort and compliance to improve their lot. Drunks and addicts, along with their stolen bikes should be shown the door. Glad to see the city is taking long-overdue measures. For those who feel otherwise, provide your address so folks can camp on your lawn or entryway.
Sounds like a growth industry to me.
This is a criminal violation of human rights to treat homeless people like garbage. To treat the homeless so cruelly is similar to nazi Germany practices. This country has the world’s highest per capita of population of people in prison. Most of them are poor and many are people of color. Poverty and homelessness is on the increase. Police brutality is on the increase. Wealth is increasingly going up to the wealthy and little to the working people and poor which this system is designed to do.

This mayor and whoever covers for this behavior is shameless, it is also little more than corporate welfare at the expense of the most vulnerable. Homeless addicted people are dying as are other homeless.
It makes sense to enact a humane and cost effective program such as Housing First NOW.

Addiction is a illness not a crime and addicted people need help not condemnation from self righteous people. I lost a dear one to addiction who was only 25 years old. My family and I may never get over the pain. This system killed her and many others.
Also these sweeps of homeless encampments and the harassment of the vulnerable homeless are paid for by public $. We should not stand for it. Shame on this city government and those that profit from this human rights crime.
@10: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But Seattle's public spaces should not be unhealthy and dangerous as well.

Compromise: pay the homeless to clean up after themselves.
80 bucks a hour per worker? What's their cut and how close are they to being homeless?
Did you know that the vast majority of the homeless in Seattle are actually from Seattle? And many of them used to have homes in Seattle until they were priced out.

I could care less about the homeless. Load them all up in a truck and send them to Spokane. Tell 'em there's free tar over yonder and needles for days!
@1 Every asshole in Seattle doesn't get to personally approve each line on the city budget. Your opinion doesn't matter.
if you drive down the express lanes with any frequency, you'll see that the homeless generate a ton of trash that they do not clean up. when the next group moves into the camp site, they just push the previous group's trash down the hill. the situation is intolerable, unhealthy, and trash removal is a needed service/task. plus, they're shitting somewhere. everyone poops.

@10, 11: get out there and do something about it then. it is NOWHERE near Nazi Germany so slow your crazy-rant roll.

@16: I've heard that anecdotally, but is there a source for that? maybe they're from the region, but Seattle specifically? I get the feeling that its not just rent increases that push folks on to the street. job loss, addiction, & mental health play a part as well.
@7 - Sure!

"The answer to this is to reform Seattle's human service delivery system so that it actually reduces homelessness by adopting the evidence-based practices that work everywhere else."

Evidence-based practices has to include Housing First, right? And we have $50MM for homeless services, I think...surely that can buy a bed or two (but maybe not in Mayor Murray's world).
Although their use of "everywhere else" is sadly an overstatement...there are too few cities willing to do it. Luckily, we already have DESC doing it...let them do more!
seems to me it would be easier (and cheaper) and more effective to just burn these encampments...
Long term, it would be cheaper to provide the services needed to get people off the street and into stable housing.

What's going to happen in a month or two when the camps pop up again? Is the city going to shell out another $80/hr per employee to this company?

How much is this going to cost over the year?
What a waste of public resources.
@19, it's fact based from data collected over the past several one night counts. And those homeless who are from here has been on the uptick: being priced out of housing has been a major issue.
@ 24

Then maybe you should be pushing your elected representatives - at all levels of government - to deal with the root causes of homelessness and substance abuse.
There are several classes of street people:

A. "Homeless:" The working poor whose financial circumstance limit access to self-paid housing.

B. "Disabled:" People whose mental or physical incapacitation limits their access to employment, and so decent housing.

C. "Leeches:" Transient people who will live anywhere, peaceably, if someone else is paying for food, shelter, boozes, weed, etc. Generally reject behavioral norms and standards.

D. "Vagrants:" Opportunistic criminal element who exploit, cheat, steal and lie, lacking housing because of same.

For A. (Homeless) We need short-term assistance and longer-term infrastructure for those that can and want to work, and are willing to participate within a self-help framework of appropriate conduct, effort, etc. For this, we can be generous.

For B. (Disabled) We need effective programs to remove them from the streets, into mid-term recovery programs, or long-term assistance programs to get them stable, supported, skilled, etc. For this, we can be compassionate.

For C. (Leeches). Roll-up the welcome mat and run their asses out of town. Persistently sweep up their belongings and burn them. Initiate progressive fines and civic sanctions that rapidly escalate to discourage asocial behavior. When they persist (3 police contacts), warehouse them with considerable daily work requirements (preparing meals for A & B, cleaning shelters, picking-up roadside garbage, sweeping streets). Proceeds from work are held in account for rent deposit and utilities – only. For this, we can be intolerant.

For D. (Vagrants). For homeless convicted of misdemeanor drug, property or petty assault crimes. Arrest them. Yes, for misdemeanors. Confine them to supervised 'warehousing,' with 1-3 month sentences to labor work crews, cleaning out encampments, etc. For repeat offenders, 6 month, 6-day hard labor crews to repair hillsides, plant trees and repair roads in the North Cascades. For this, we can be absolute. Make the work mandatory, hard, consistent and healthy. Create a high cost for fucking-up Seattle.

Seattle has a dishonest conversation about "homeless" population. Separate those that genuinely need help, from those who prefer others do the work – and give them a shitload of work without choice or voice. Before anyone sheds another fucking tear for vagrants and leeches in this city, consider Ballard's Fred Nesbitt, whose death this week largely went without notice by Slog, as its inconvenient the to prevailing political narrative of "homelessness."…
@22 yeah, burning contaminated material in close proximity to occupied buildings... gee, that shouldn't be a danger to the public at all.

Of course you're the guy that recommended we also close our nations borders after one person got Ebola. So your not exactly a font of practical rational solutions.
@25 The validity of that seems to be disputed by all the folks on the other side of the argument, who are dead certain that Seattle is a "dumping ground" for all the cities within 300 miles who are rounding up their homeless and putting them on a bus with a one-way ticket to Seattle...or so the theory goes.

I suspect that most the homeless folks in Seattle are from Washington State, since Portland is as hospitable and closer for the downtrodden of Oregon, although I don't think it really matters where they're from. The idea that the homeless have the paperwork to establish "where they're from", or how's that even determined (how long do you have to live somewhere before you're "from" there?) seems to just be a way to justify the cops dumping them outside city limits with warnings not to come back, boy.
@Cato - Hey, do you have a link to that "uptick" thing? I'm not asking in a snarky way, I promise. I've been trying to get a good source for where homeless folks are from, mainly to be able to authoritatively put an end to the "they are mostly local" vs "they come to Freeattle" contretemps. I've heard from people who do the count that they specifically do NOT ask people where they come from because they are counting at night and don;t want to wake people or engage too much as they are working fast to count as many as possible. I also saw a "study" -- was it from SHARE? I can't immediately recall -- that purported to illustrate many were from here but the actual methodology behind that one was, sadly, pretty poor/anecdotal. The fact is, they are HERE...where they came from is important but secondary to immediately addressing our issues. I do support a real census of the homeless to assess their needs and, if it turns out people really ARE all flocking here to avail themselves of whatever they avail themselves of, that's good to know, too. I'm never afraid of an honest, fact-based answer.
@27 I agree with your entire statement.
@10- "the system" didn't kill your loved one, they did it themselves.
Good work 27. Fully agree.

Where they are from does matter because some of us concluded that the majority of the plague is from inbound folks from far away. Virtually every anecdote in the media where a homeless person is asked their origin has them coming from a 1000 miles away or more. The methodology of the one night count has never been shared. Common sense suggests that the vermin hitting and shooting up were not paying rent in a nice urban apartment 3 years ago before rent goes up.

If we suffer in migration it is because of our policies not in spite of them and suggests that Freeattle is real and toxic, as are the people and organizations that create and promote this homeless welcome-wagon.
So the owner probably pay his workers $10-$12/hr and gets $240/hr from the City? Quite a haul! Since he doesn't have to feed or house the workers, this is so much better than running a private prison! Who pays the dump fees?
This is like watching a 70's sci-fi movie.

@13 I love Christians. They're so full of love and compassion.

Ha ha ha.... Just kidding. Christians are fucking assholes.
38 guess it's a prevailing wage job...state law says you have to pay X amount to employees you can look it up and i did and its like $44/$45 an hour
@37 Posted anonymously.
Plenty of sketchy stuff going on around homeless camps in Seattle. Here's a fresh story on that from my blog:
@35: he bills his staff (a crew of 3) at $80/hr. that's cheap. our admins bill higher than that.
@36: Tell me, why aren't you hurling the same snarky insults to the mayor of Seattle? This is city policy. Please stay focused.
@4 Bess, your poor head is going to explode when you read up on prosecutors' discretionary powers.
The data suggesting most homeless are from Seattle (King County actually) is massively flawed and misleading.

@34 is correct. Just about every article I've read about a homeless person in Seattle decribes how they've recently moved here from some far away state.

This matters because clearly the word is out that Seattle is the place where you can come, pitch a tent anywhere and get buckets of excuses about why it's not your fault.
@19 @25 @30 @31 @44

The oft-cited 87% figure says that 87% of the homeless in King County are from King county. The number is not broken down by city.

This statistic does not come from the annual one-night counts.

King county is required by federal law to collect data on the users of homeless services (and other services) located in the county. This data is self-reported; staff ask a few basic questions of the people who come through the door.

The methodology is far from perfect, of course, but I'm not sure they can do much better without raising issues of ethics; trying to study the homeless like lab animals would tend to interfere with, you know, providing services to them.

The data collected is centralized at Safe Harbors, aka King County's Homeless Management Information Services, which also tracks how federal money is spent on services.
welcome to planet slum where we empty the rural areas and force the poor to scrounge from metropolis' cast offs

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