Rebecca Massey came here from Oklahoma and couldn't find a job. Now Seattle taxpayers are paying for her to live here. She has been counted as one of Seattle's homeless but she is really one of Oklahoma's homeless. I think part of finding people a home should be the ability to send them to the place they came from that may have more low income housing available than we do here in Seattle. It is not Seattle's job to house all homeless who end up here by ourselves. Homelessness is a countrywide problem and we should be able to house the homeless where the housing is available now.
Sweeps are critical for public safely and heath.

We'd all like to think that these homeless camps should be a noble gesture by the city, but it just takes a few in the camp to greatly exacerbate things. For one thing, the child abuse and exploitation that occurs in these camps.
@1, so you think that services should only provided to those who can "prove" they have been in the Seattle area for a certain period of time? And if so, what parameters do you set?
Oh look, it's another revival of this old drama.

Show us the map, folks.

In this latest performance, the map is named Public Lands That Are Not "in conflict with other public uses of the site."

But who will draw the map?

Where shall the homeless go?!
@2: @1 is saying that a bus ticket out of here should be an OPTION for those who'd like it. why hyperbolize? homelessness IS a national crisis (albeit one that gets no national coverage), but the PNW is bearing the brunt of it.
yeah. I meant @3, phoebe. sorry.
No problem at all, Max.

Seattle and Portland are bearing the brunt of the homelessness crisis in the Pacific Northwest. San Francisco and Sacramento are bearing the brunt of the homelessness crisis in northern California. Los Angeles is bearing the brunt of the homelessness crisis in southern California. Salt Lake City is bearing the brunt of the homelessness crisis in Utah. Phoenix in Arizona. Albuquerque in New Mexico. And so on.

The Pacific Northwest is not bearing the brunt of the national homelessness crisis. Not even the tiniest little smidgen of a brunt.

When people lose their homes, they do not do an internet search for "best city to be homeless in the US" and buy a plane ticket. Or even a bus ticket.

They just head for the nearest large city.

There are a lot of blindingly obvious reasons for this, but they are apparently lost on a certain sort of citizen of cities all over the US, utterly convinced that somehow all of the homeless people in the country are crowding into their own downtown while no other city can possibly be having anything like the problem experienced locally.
@8: as much as I'd like to agree with you that I'm a "certain sort of citizen", you listed western cities. my recent experience in Midwestern cities leads me to the conclusion that this is not an evenly distributed phenomenon. i saw zero tent cities in my hometown. zero tents anywhere. anecdotal, sure.

maybe the Midwest is just more cruel than Seattle, but i believe climate does play a role. as does housing cost.
Homeless people gravitate towards cities because that's where the services they need are. Move those services out into rural communities and towns and the need to go to Seattle or any other city is greatly reduced.

Anyone can become homeless, all it takes is a financial crisis, so it's a human problem which can be helped by making services and resources available wherever humans are, rather than waiting for a small problem to turn into a much larger one when people have to flock to cities in the hopes of finding whatever help they need to get their lives back on track.

We should at least be able to help able bodied folks recover from a crisis, then try to figure out the best way to deal with those who for one reason or another aren't capable of or don't want to rejoin society, such as bringing back residential mental health institutions to make it an easier problem to manage.
@9, @10

Er, no.

People who lose their homes do not do a survey of services available and then relocate to wherever their research suggests they will find the greatest concentration thereof.

They move to the nearest large city.

There are a great many things that the nearest large city will offer that do not fall under anyone's definition of "services." The most important thing the nearest large city offers is more people. More friends and relatives willing to share a couch for a week or more. More people to toss a buck or a meal coupon to a beggar. More dumpsters to pick through. More people willing to pay cash for day labor or odd jobs. More people willing to pay cash under the table for really odd jobs, no questions asked.

And then for some... more places to buy alcohol at any time of day. More people to buy drugs from, more people willing to accept, erm, "personal services" in exchange for drugs, more poorly secured bicycles, more people owning more businesses to shoplift from.

In short, more opportunities, ranging from perfectly respectable to nefarious, that no tax-funded services will ever provide.

As to your rust-belt cities... well, if you're visiting in the middle of winter, then no, you're not going to see a lot of homeless people on the sidewalk, because they've taken whatever shelter they can find. Doesn't mean they aren't there, though. Do you want me to go through every major city in the US and google its name along with the word "homelessness" for you? Seattle isn't special. Seattle isn't even close to special, with its ~10k homeless. Chicago (the largest city in your no-homelessness-here Midwest) has ~18k homeless public school students.

Seattle is not bearing the cross of homelessness for the rest of the nation. The homeless are not moving across the country in a mass migration. They are moving into all large American cities from their suburbs, exurbs, and outlying towns, just as they've been doing for more than a century now.
Traveling is a huge economic barrier for poor people. So no, homeless people are not moving here in big enough numbers to be an issue; that is a distraction from the real, root cause of homelessness, which is a lack of truly affordable housing for lower income and working class folks.
Let’s face facts – Seattle has some 7000+ homeless and the city declared an emergency over a year ago yet the situation continues to deteriorate.

Do you believe the city would suggest we move under bridges or live in our cars if a major natural disaster displaced 7000 people who lost their homes? A more likely scenario would be action from the Governor, Mayor, Public Health and the National Guard to set up temporary sites that would provide sanitation, shelter, food and health care to treat those in need. I believe this is the course of action that is needed for our city. Enforce the laws, give people the option of returning to family or friends. Those that choose not to or don’t have that option would be moved to a FEMA type shelter where care is provided. It is not an option to remain “on the street” in hundreds of locations making it logistically impossible to provide needed services. If the political powers to be can’t make that decision it should be decided by our Public Health Dept. It is only a matter of time before there is some type of 3rd world outbreak such as cholera. Seattle is a world class city and our citizens deserve better.

Er, something like 70% of all homeless people at any given time are only homeless short-term; they find homes within 6 months or less. There's a very high rate of what an employer would call "turnover" in the homeless population. But this is a distraction.

There's really no need to argue over this or that "root cause" when we can simply use definitions.

The problem that (almost) all homeless people have is that they haven't got homes.

Similarly, the problem that (almost) all of the poor have is that they haven't got any wealth.

The solution to these problems, in the simplest possible terms, is to give the affected people more of the thing which they lack. it's finding and agreeing on a way to do this (or, alternately, to refuse to do this) which gets us into all these squirrelly roundabout arguments and finger-pointing contests.
Some comments here strike a theme around big cities with resources being magnets for homeless. The majority of Seattle's homeless come from this state, but few other communities provide resources and most (including my east side community) are aggressive in expelling any suspected homeless including those in RVs. Combined with Seattle's housing costs this creates a perfect storm. I love Seattle's compassion, but if I were a taxpayer there I'd be looking for every community to do it's part.
#1: If there was housing available in Oklahoma, Rebecca Massey wouldn't have gone to Seattle.
@15 is you think people being priced out of their homes doesn't drive homelessness, you're dreaming. Economic displacement is a major issue, especially in Seattle.

We have tens of thousands of people hanging on by their finger nails to stay working and living in this city. And a sizable rent hike either pushes them out into another city, or it pushes them out into the streets.
Ooops. Mark Lakeman's early design for R2Dtoo relocation is still my pick for homeless encampment systems that are relatively inexpensive, also an integrated design for services - water supply, portapotty, locked storage, showers, laundry, kitchen, garden spots, very orderly, important step away from homelessness, more easily erected.

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