After City Hall Park Homeless Camp Is Emptied, Debate Over Solutions Intensifies

Comments

1

Greenlake and Ballard Commons next, please.

2

If it looks like a sweep, is conducted like a sweep and has the same effective results as a sweep - it's a sweep, no matter what they call it.

3

@2 - Yes, they're swept into housing.

4

"Far-right and antifascist... "

anti- What?
let's call a fucking
Fascist a far-right-fucking
Fascist around here, shall we?!

& Welkommen
to der Schlog!

@3 -- good one!

5

Business are closing because the homeless make continued operation untenable. Sweep away, and keep sweeping.

6

Lets start with a point of reason.... its illegal to camp in a public park. The citizens of this city also have rights to enjoy the park, be safe, not have to step in poo or be poked with needles.

The indigents are trespassing and do not have rights superior to the common citizens, They may very well have needs, problems and issues which surpass the needs of the common citizens, but that doesn't guarantee them rights superior and they live and abide at our good will and graces.

Something given for nothing is worth nothing. Thus if the sweeps take place, then they should have an option, alternative housing, treatment at a location well outside the city...like a WPA or CCC camp where they will be expected to "work" be it picking up trash, cleaning graffiti, planting trees etc) in return for these alternatives or take classes, get treatment...ect

If that doesn't work, then just give them $50,000 and a ticket out of town. That would be cheaper and more expedient.

7

My partner went downtown on Friday for work near 4th and Olive. She was harassed by a homeless man while there was another man in a heron super sitting in a puddle of his own piss next to him. One her way back to the car, she walked pass two guys huddled in a doorway sharing a crack pipe watching her with intent. Sunday, when she needed to do some shopping, she drove all the way to Bellevue Square because she doesn't feel safe downtown. As was mentioned last week in the SLOG, suburban retail is not suffering like the urban stores. There is a reason.

8

I should mention she moved here from Brooklyn and lived there before it became gentrfied. She's knows when there is danger walking alone as a woman.

9

When a street-smart New Yorker is afraid to go downtown, you've got a problem.

10

City Hall Park was not cleared; it was just drained downhill, to Occidental Ave. a few blocks away.

11

@5:

More likely they're closing because they can't find anyone willing to work a shitty retail job for shit wages anymore...

12

@11: Yes, all retail jobs are sh*tty when there are scant customers. And since when is $15.00 per hour a sh*t wage?

@7-9 - Thanks for sharing.

13

The reality is - the expensive housing created in the last 40 years or so by corporate landlords
and developers who have torn down all the rooming houses and cheap apartments that used to exist is a cause of this misery. These were a way for people low on money to have a place to stay. Gone. Done in by greed and so called growth that only benefits those with money.

The attack on unions, racism, unpaid work by women and working people with low wages. Horrific working conditions and billionaires that pay no taxes and benefit from desperation are
part of the picture. The decrease of benefits created by the labor movement are another part of the picture.

A cruel and corrupt foster care system that creates despair and hopelessness for many youth
and children that provides a gateway to prisons for the poor which includes fines that can never be paid and in adequate health care. Student loans that keep people in debt.

The depiction of homeless people as criminals by the corporate media is an example of propaganda that blames the victims and hides the truth.

The super rich steal from us and cause poverty. Corrupt politicians get rich and do nothing but keep the status quo because the payoffs are so good.

According to international law that this city is violating everyone must have decent shelter, food, water and medical care just common decency.

We have witnessed police sweeps and seen how peoples' means of survival have been robbed from them and thrown away. So that they have to start over and over from scratch.

Those of us that have been unhoused know how scary it is. We were often working without a chance to lay our heads down to sleep. We were lucky to have friends that let us couch surf.
Others do not. We/they are human beings and that is important just open your eyes.

With millions incarcerated with no where to go. It shouldn't be difficult to see that the system is rotten.

14

$15.00 an hour is not enough to get decent housing in this city.

15

Scapegoating is a way to keep people from finding out the truth. A violent police force, a legal system that only works if you have a lot of money and continued pounding down on the working class and the poor that is how it works. How is this acceptable?

16

Amazon helped in a big way to ruin downtown and may other places. Destroyed small businesses and many workplaces. Added to the misery in this city.

17

10 Thanks for reminding us of the bullshit by the powers that be.

18

@11 https://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/food/article/uptown-espresso-on-queen-anne-permanently-closing-16403950.php

19

You might think that the city would have someone who could crunch the numbers and figure out that 50K per chronically homeless person is probably a pretty good deal. There was some study (from Chicago maybe?) that determined that the average such person costs at least 80K a year in emergency services alone. I have marveled at how many emergencies there are as my studio is close to kitty corner from what is probably the busiest fire station in the city. It seems like they are going out every 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes more frequently. Just a hunch: a whole lot of those trips are to wake up some street person having a snooze on the sidewalk (a whole lot probably due to other stupid shit that people call 911 for though admittedly).

20

I think it is important to acknowledge there is a large criminal element within the homeless population. You can't say they are all criminals, but you also can't say they are all just people who have fallen on hard times. We need to address both groups differently. A couple was attacked by a mob at the homeless camp just outside the tunnel trying to retrieve their stolen property resulted in the arrest of two homeless men, who had something like 15 arrests and 12 arrests for violent crimes previously. Until we address the criminal behavior of these members, I don't think there will be a solution to the larger problem.

21

@20 - completely agree. This isn’t “low income” people we are talking about (me), this is “no income and little to no hope of future income” folks. That’s from mental illness and drugs, or worse, both at the same time.

The dudes with the piles of bikes and other stolen stuff will likely never become a self sufficient, “normal” member of society.

22

@20

Unfortunately the reality that there is a large criminal element among the campers is dismissed out of hand by the enablers on the city council and the nonprofits like LIHI and DESC.

Just mentioning it will get a person attacked as a cruel heartless Trump supporting Neanderthal.

23

It's part of a larger problem of Identity Politics, where people are grouped in monolithic blocks when in fact they are made up of individual members. The large block of people who get identified as homeless are made up of people who have fallen on hard times, people with mental illness, people with substance abuse/addition issues, some who are self-medicating their mental illness, which can lead to substance abuse creating a cycle, and the hard-core criminals...and there is plenty of overlap. We need separate this large block of people and provide ways for each to recover, which includes incarceration for the violent criminals. There is not one way to fix this problem, nor will there ever be.

24

@13 Massive cope

@14 Ohhhh I thought 15 min was a livable salary 2 years ago, dem goal posts always moving though right?

26

I remember the last time they cleaned up City Hall Park - maybe twenty years ago? Certainly before the rise of Amazon. They were going to reopen the original main entrance to the courthouse, which fronted the park. That disappeared in some sort of political handwringing, and the park was allowed to become once again a place for the homeless.

The arguments around homelessness are so trite and tired. Yes, there are criminals. Yes, there are addicts. But the thing that they all have in common is mental illness.

You have to be mentally ill to want to live in a tent with a bunch of pilfered stuff.

Yes, there are working poor. I suspect that the majority of the working poor live either in the lower income suburbs, in shelters, or in under-the-table boarding houses. The hygienic requirements for most jobs preclude even living in your car, unless the workplace has showers.

So why don't we just treat this like the mental health problem it is? It's inhumane that we - as a society, not just the cities - allow people to exist on the street, and it's unfair to the healthy members of society that they are deprived of public spaces because of this mental health issue.

The answer: Money, of course. And lack of universal healthcare. And stigma of mental illness.

Until we - again, as a society - acknowledge that we have this problem, it's never going to get better.

28

@27 Because no one wants to stay in healthcare. Sure you hear about people wanting to be doctors, nurses and CNAs but the jobs have huge burnout and the pay is mediocre at best in Seattle while being dwarfed by tech salaries.

When retail and grocery store clerks are making low to mid 20s an hour who wants to deal with entitled asshole rich people and homeless alike while get spit and shit thrown at them for barely more than that? I surely don't and I was an RN for years.

Seattle is bleeding healthcare workers and they won't come back unless they are travel nurses making 4k a week. They just take the money and leave.

I worked with homeless (most are substance abusers of some sort, sorry its the truth) and simple housing won't fix the issue. We had patients all the time who were semi housed or in govt housing and their places were also trashed, infested or made unlivable with generally shitty people all living in one area.

A 12x12 box ain't going to fix an entire life of fuckups and magically instill human accountability.

29

@11 COMTE, @14 Ivy R. Nightscales, and @26 Catalina Vel-DuRay for the WIN!
So well said and summarized. Fully agreed, seconded, thirded, and fouthed.
I have nothing further to add---you three nailed it perfectly.

30

@13 Ivy R. Nightscales: BINGO! omg How did I miss this spot on comment? Bravo!
The last time I resided in Seattle, I rented a one bedroom apartment with a parking garage space in Ballard in 1993 @ originally $475 a month (the rent over three and a half years went up to $560 / month when I moved out in 1997).
Those days of college-student affordability in Seattle are long gone and they're never coming back.

31

@5: What if the profiteering developers sweep down your prized tree fort, too, Swifty?

31

To the extent there is a criminal element among the homeless, much if it was driven to homelessness by the stigma of a criminal record that makes it near impossible to rent housing or get a job that pays a living wage. In America you never pay your debt after a crime, but instead remain a pariah by a large segment of society that likes to abuse people and find prior criminals an easy target for abuse since a large segment of society approves of their mistreatment.

We stigmatize them, refuse them decent work and housing, push them out into the street where there is an increased risk of violent crime, then act shocked that after being stripped of all their humanity, personal value and ability to earn a living they go on to commit more crime.

Why it's almost like when you create an entire segment of society with nothing to lose, they start acting like the have nothing to lose.

32

@28: "A 12x12 box ain't going to fix an entire life of fuckups and magically instill human accountability."

Ya, sure you're your an RN, you liar. That's not healthcare worker language, that's law enforcement language.

33

@25 Oh, the professor, your whine is old and tired. If a housed person with a history of violent crime and an outstanding warrant has a bunch of stolen property in his front yard; his neighbors call the police and a SWAT team shows up and takes him to jail. If a homeless man has 15 stolen bicycles and a stolen lawnmower in front of his tent and someone calls the police, they are the oppressed homeless and defended by the city council and the homeless industrial complex.

34

@31 So the problem with crime in America, is just that criminals need love, like everybody else. If they just had someone to love them, they'd be normal. Normal like the rest of us who chose not to commit crimes. And violent criminals must need more love and they'd stop too. Nice idea. That and a dollar will get you...

35

@32: That's some desperate retort when you can't bear the fact that someone has inside knowledge about the subject that is at odds with yours.

36

@32 Well I was, sorry to burst your worldview, my opinion especially in the ER and ICU was what the majority believed. Utter fucking delusion if you think healthcare workers are all bleeding hearts who readily welcome and "feel for" the PCP'd out homeless who come into the ER day in and day out threatening to rape and murder everyone in sight. Get bent and head back to the basement you came from. In my 10 years of healthcare work 95% of my patients who were homeless were substance abusers and the majority of the time my biggest asshole patients. Always wanting IV narcotics, always rude, always draining. We literally would trade them every day so one person wasn't stuck 3 days in a row with that asshat heroin addict who injected into his leg causing him to almost lose it all the while spitting at people one second then saying he wants to fuck them behind the curtain the other.

I literally laughed when I read your comment, you have 0 idea how the boots on the ground really feel for the precious homeless you all have infinite excuses for.

But yeah just a bunch of down on their luck type who got priced out by amazon right?

Bonkers.

37

I love the people who think you can just plop mentally ill and addicted people into neighborhood tiny homes.
A: nobody wants the contingent from City Hall Park anywhere near their neighborhood, housed or not.
B: I bet even LIHI would shirk at the thought of taking on a large group of mentally ill or addicted persons because their move-out rate is already pushing a year per client and I am pretty sure part of their funding depends on how many people they move out of the system. Some of these people have been homeless for decades. That'll really put a dent in their success rate.

@36 If Casino Royal were a medical professional, they'd be swiping fentanyl bags from pregnant ladies on epidural in the labor ward to bring down to some dumbass who never saw Requiem for a Dream and got a massive infection from shooting-up too much in the same spot and just really needs a hit.

38

Wait I thought the Hiatus was until the 26th?

You have to admit the comments section has been considerably more civil the last few days. It's almost as though some toxic element was missing.

39

The argument that homeless ness is due to lack of housing is false. Homeless come here from all over the country knowing that we have higher housing costs than where they come from. They come here because they know we don't enforce any rules that are enforced in other cities like San Diego, San Francisco, Portland and state of Alaska - also Idaho and Montana. If we enforced laws our problem would dramatically reduce in a few years. Bike chop shop in your camp? All campers in that camp are permanently trespassed from camping in Seattle - done.

40

@35: and you're willing to buy his shit because you share his views.

We will add him to the guy who claimed to work with the homeless who believed the only solution to homelessness was homeless sweeps and incarceration, or the guy who claimed he was a defense attorney while never giving anything but a police law and order lock em all up view on crime.

Haven't you noticed the pattern of people who claim "inside knowledge" and then go on to sound nothing like the people they claim to represent? No, of course you haven't as long as they agree with you.

If his idea is a good one it can stand on it's merits. The appeal to a profession is pathetic even if true unless you bring actual inside intel, which he did not since he's a liar.

I have spent my life working with healthcare workers and they express a range of opinions on homelessness, but none of them refer to homeless people in that way. That kind of crass inhumanity which is common in law enforcement would get you ostracized to the basement laundry department. No healthcare working would be caught dead with someone referring to the homeless in that way.

41

@34: So your shitbag idea is to ensure prior criminals remain homeless and jobless so you have someone to feel superior too?

Your plan seems to be working. We have a large contingent of homeless people with nothing to lose. In places like Germany they actually give prior criminals job training and placement when they get out along with a place to live. You would no doubt consider that "weak, but it's also why recidivism and homelessness is so low among this group.

If you want to call that "loving criminals" you fucking sociopath that's your business. My goal is to reduce crime and homelessness.

42

After all the crimes that came frim that encampment I think most people could care less about what they want to call the removal of that encampment. Because court workers and the public just wanted to be able to go to the courthouse for whatever business they had there without being accosted, assaulted or harassed.

Being homeless does not mean one has the right to be a criminal killing dogs, assaulting others, the list goes on. Meanwhile people who try to use that park can’t unless they want to become the next victim.

43

"Housing. Housing. Housing" is a nice mantra, but there's a lot to unpack there.

A schizophrenic needs a different housing environment than an addict. Our experience with shelters has proven that.

44

@40: No, you don't have supernatural powers like the furious professor to know somebody is lying just because you don't like their stance. That's super childish and unravels your credibility.

45

bUt Th3y JuSt n3eD hOm3z!!!! 1!!!

At the King’s Inn, a city-funded program operated by Chief Seattle Club that also takes people in directly from outside, Belgarde said that there’s quite a bit of turnover – often, people leave and don’t come back, and there are some people who pose real safety risks.

In Belgarde’s program, 111 people have come through the hotel, but just two, or less than 2%, have exited to permanent housing. Twenty-six people, or 23%, have left King’s Inn because they decided to, safety issues, or issues with the rules. At the Executive Hotel Pacific, another city-funded hotel shelter run by the nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute, 209 people have participated in the program, 11% have been housed, and 16% have left because of safety reasons, transferred to other shelters or abandoned their spot.

...

But Besgrove, whose deadline to leave the hotel was recently extended into September, believes the program has left her worse off than before because she no longer has a tent.

“They basically postponed our homelessness,” she said.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/homeless/57-people-from-one-seattle-homeless-encampment-got-hotel-rooms-last-year-more-than-1-3-likely-went-back-to-the-streets/

46

@44: I didn't address his stance and it doesn't take supernatural powers to recognize that almost every time some idiot poster leads with "well I have a career in X" they are almost always advocates for the exact opposite of people in that field. I personally think his ideas on this topic are shit, but I did not even address that, or attack his ideas based on his fictitious claim of being an RN. I'm just tired of sock puppets coming on here and thinking they can fool anyone but you is stupid enough to believe them when they give us "well I work with the homeless as a social worker and I believe we need to deny them all food and send them to prison" They should know that everyone but you realizes they are lying for credibility.

The poster is welcome to post his RN license or work badge if he wants to be believed. I specifically don't mention my career for just that reason, even as I watch morons on this board give opinions in my career field that are laughably ignorant.

He was doing just fine at the deception until: "A 12x12 box ain't going to fix an entire life of fuckups and magically instill human accountability."

Healthcare workers range from liberal to conservative and believe in everything from housing first to police sweeps as a solution, but there is no room for describing humans that way in our field. It would be like someone here claiming they were a cop and supporting defunding, or a prosecutor claiming we should get rid of absolute immunity and create a system of accountability, or a Raindrop coming on here and having a coherent thought. Right off that bat you know they are full of shit.

I

47

@ royal with cheese Shitbag, sociopath? Does your mother, who's basement couch you sleep on due to your age or mental state (and share with the professor), know you use such vitriolic language to total strangers on the comments section of an online...whatever you call the Stranger? You use the phrase "My goal is to reduce crime and homelessness", which only shows you are naive or a simpleton, or perhaps both. Like my goal is to end world hunger or save the planet. What have you done to reach your goal, might I ask, besides criticizing others? Because, as my nom de plume refers, making a statement on the Stranger SLOG really means nothing. It doesn't change anything in the real world. I tell you what: go down to the nearest homeless encampment, pick someone at random and offer your basement to live in for six months. Really live up to your views. Ask your mom first but don't mention it to the professor, because the minute he see as shit-stained meth addict sitting on his couch, he's going to flip like a pancake and all of a sudden be like so pro get-that=piece-of-shit-away-from-me.

48

@47: "Because, as my nom de plume refers, making a statement on the Stranger SLOG really means nothing. It doesn't change anything in the real world."

And yet here you are with your panties in a knot obsessing over what I think of your idiotic ideas. If my these posts are nothing, why do you spend so much time obsessing over people like me who criticize your non-solutions? In this case, I don't think the Professor even addressed you and you are STILL obsessing over what he thinks of you. Do you have any idea how pathetic you are to place your self worth on the hands of a group of bloggers on some small alternative news site?

Ending world hunger, like ending homelessness will likely never happen, but you'll notice I never used the word end, I used reduce. We can either make things better or worse. The only thing you have ever shared is your own personal dislike for homeless people and policies designed to punish them due to your own personal hangups rather than addressing the problem of homelessness. Just because you think everything is about you doesn't mean the rest of us share your narcissism. As far and I can tell there is nothing that can be done to help you, but there are things we can do to reduce homelessness. But your really not part of the conversation, are you? Your just hear to respond to every criticism by reminding us that the criticism doesn't matter to you as you obviously obsess over every criticism.

49

@43: Think that is of the hardest points to get across to people who have never worked with the homeless. From the outside people think all homelessness is due to one thing (drugs, mental illness, crime) when it is as complicated as people are. How do you create a system that address the variety of different circumstances that lead to homelessness and the different types of homelessness (living on the street, in a car, in a shelter, on a friends couch) ranging from temporary to permanent homelessness? People who wonder why we have not solved this underestimate just how complex the problem is.

Studies and experience all indicate that housing first really is the first step, but that leads to your important question. How is that done for a group of people facing such radically different challenges? Especially when you are relying on government agencies that tend to favor standardization in solutions?

50

@46: You should be confident of your own opinions and dispositions without accusing others of lying in a public anonymous forum. And what a cheap shot to ask them to post personal information, as if that adds any credence to your position.

51

And we have cities and towns across the country putting homeless on busses and sending them to Seattle, since we're known for being so accommodating.

Housing Housing Housing - yeah right.

52

Read my post @23. Or my other posts in this string. I'm not getting paid to solve these problems. But many people are and they are not doing it. Meanwhile, many people suffer from their failures, not just the homeless.

53

@52: So to quote you, what good is pissing and moaning about these failures here on a blog doing? You are the one who claims that posting here is pointless since it achieves nothing, and yet here you are posting about your problems with the current system.

Or is it just the ideas you disagree with you are certain have no impact, while your pwn posts are changing the world.

Inconsistency much?

54

@50: He obviously lacks confidence in his own ideas, which is why he pretended to be an RN to give them the veneer of credibility. To use your own logic, why isn't he confident in his own ideas? Why does he feel he needs to invent a profession with his brand new handle to convince us he has credibility.

The cheap shot is claiming a profession on an anonymous blog to gain credibility when you are unable to prove it. As I said, it's reason I never mention my profession. My ideas are good enough to succeed or fail on their own merits and out of simple integrity, I would feel required to post proof if I made such a claim. I'm not willing to do that so I don't.

As for this:

"And we have cities and towns across the country putting homeless on buses and sending them to Seattle"

Can you cite something credible on this beyond the small handful of people who tend to move city to city anyway? Because on the face of it that claim does not sound credible since they have many homeless people in other cities and the thing that homelessness tracks closest with is housing affordability:

https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/what-causes-homelessness/housing/

The only source I can find for the "they are busing homeless people to Seatte" claim is on MyNorthwest, hardly a pro-homeless site and they seem to debunk this myth that there is come coordinate plan to move homeless people to Seattle:

https://mynorthwest.com/1415605/seattle-homeless-bus-ticket-conspiracy/?

"Every few months, it happens. Allegations swirl about people experiencing homelessness given bus tickets to the Seattle area — the homeless promise land, “Freeattle,” where anyone can live on the street trouble free with services as grand as Mount Rainier. It’s a great bus ticket conspiracy and Seattle is the target.

For example, Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw alleged in 2018 that the cities of SeaTac and Tukwila were busing people into Seattle for the city’s social services, adding to the growing homeless population. SeaTac and Tukwila have refuted this claim, however. More recently, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan threw shade at Federal Way for busing homeless into the city. Federal Way has also denied this, and the situation had more to do with Seattle’s warming shelters amid the winter snow storm.

Timeline: Understanding Seattle homelessness
Results from the 2019 King County homeless count

It’s not just cities around Puget Sound. Allegations of homeless individuals coming to town by planes, trains, or automobiles are common. In 2017, The Guardian investigated 18 months worth of interstate homeless bus tickets and indeed found a few headed to Seattle. But also Portland, New York, Reno, and many others.

While a conspiracy isn’t likely, there are programs across the country supplying people with tickets out of town — including the Seattle area. The truth of these programs involves less underhanded scheming and a bit more context.

“Any community that I have worked in, or worked with people that are working to address homelessness, this is something that people hear,” said Lauren McGowan with United Way of King County. “There is always a rumor that people are being transported to a specific community or coming to a community for various resources. I can tell you that traveling to another community when you are homeless, looking for homeless resources, would be a terrible strategy.”

55

"The bus ticket conspiracy
This bus ticket urban legend is not unique. In fact, many cities believe they are so special that homeless individuals, and other cities, are targeting them. Daniel Walters, reporter with the Inlander, has heard similar rhetoric as Spokane deals with its own portion of the homelessness crisis.

“For a long time there have been these rumors about other cities paying for homeless people to come to Spokane, basically helping homeless people in their community leave their community and come to Spokane,” Walters said.

Seattle has become a major talking point for Spokane candidates
Spokane is trying to attract unhappy Seattleites looking to flee

For example, Spokane Mayoral Candidate Nadine Woodward tweeted in April, hinting at such a claim.

Spent last night talking with the homeless and volunteers at Salem Lutheran Church, one of the city’s warming centers. This woman from Billings, MT says she was given a bus ticket to Spokane. She suffers from depression and a physical disability that makes it hard to keep a job. pic.twitter.com/wr8lnaYrLU

— Nadine Woodward (@Nadine4Mayor) April 10, 2019

But when Walters researched rumors for an article published in The Inlander, he discovered even more speculation. He reached out to Billings Mayor Bill Cole about that bus ticket.

“He just sort of started laughing,” Walters said of Mayor Cole. “Like it’s the most absurd thing he’s heard in his life, sort of thing. But again, it seemed familiar because he’s heard that rumor, too. He’s heard that Bozeman was sending people (to Billings).”

“….These are rumors, but the people who are claiming that other communities are busing people to Spokane, Portland and Seattle are the two most common ones that you hear about,” he said."

55

@19: They don't typically respond from fire stations to just wake up some bum sleeping on the sidewalk. Odds are that they are responding to medical emergencies. Most probably Fentanyl overdoses.

I've seen the activity in the SODO district when a bad batch of heroin hits the streets. It's not just someone shaken awake and told to move on. The EMTs are spending a significant amount of time treating the collapsed victims. Probably administering Narcan.

But not all of the costs cited are for OD treatment. The Homeless Industrial Complex has their teeth sunk firmly into backside of the city's homeless budget. Witness the cost estimates of the safe RV site proposed some years ago at the Yankee Diner site. About double what monthly RV parking costs rich boomers with brand new motor homes are charged by for-profit park owners.

57

Casino dear, shouldn't one start from the assumption that a homeless person is mentally ill and then take it from there?

If they aren't mentally ill, then is it addiction? Or is it mental illness with self-medication that became an addiction?

No mental illness, no addiction? Then why are they homeless? Lack of housing? Is that permanent or temporary? If it's permanent, how can we provide them with transitional housing? If it's temporary, can we provide some sort of transient accommodations?

(keep in mind that as a port city, we have always had a transient population of people who are here between assignments. Also, with our construction boom, we have people who are here for unskilled labor jobs)

That seems like a start for screening.

58

@57: Unless I misunderstood you, I don't see not see it as an either or between screening to determine why people are homeless and housing first.

Just housing will not help if we don't know why they are homeless and just screening will be both difficult and not address the problem without housing. Perhaps one idea would be to set up specific short term housing during screening, then transition them to a permanent solution once we know the problem. Right now we are not doing either effectively. We simply don't have enough beds for the number of homeless and screening is almost impossible when someone is living in a tent. Having a place for them to stay makes effective screening and help possible. It's why we have hospitals.

Perhaps the most difficult part is accepting that within our current constraints there are some people too broken to fix that will require permanent care. A bi-product of encouraging nuclear family structures post WWII that has been great for economic growth is that it has also broken up traditional family structures that once helped individuals who fell through the cracks.

It's been a while since I lived in an apartment, but about 30 years ago a women living in the same apartment building had a mental breakdown. The apartment manager was able to call her daughter who came and got her and helped her get back on medication. The lady later came back and apologized to us for what had happened.

In many of these cases today there is not daughter of family member to step in. For people like this without family there is no solution and done. Even diagnosed and able to afford housing in some way, they will fluctuate between housing and homelessness in the many cases where there is not family member to step in. We need to prepare for a system where we address the problem, but he realistic about the problem vanishing even with the best screening and housing available.

59

@57: I will also add as someone who has done some volunteer work in this area in recent years, the people I talk to who have been doing this longer tell me the demographic of the homeless has changed dramatically in King County over the past 10 years. Those will behavior problems relating to drugs and/or mental illness are the most visible, but they are a tiny fraction of the homeless problem in King County. Increasingly we are dealing with young families and the elderly that simply can't afford a home either due to a medical event that bankrupted them, one or both family members having a criminal record that makes work above minimum wage inaccessible, or some other life shock (job loss, divorce, etc) that push the marginalized into cars, RV and other places. These people represent a new class of people who traditionally would have lived in housing at the lower end who reach a point where they simply can't any longer. This is no place to start a discussion in zoning and monetary policy, but America has made a series of decisions over the past 40 years that has been housing a great engine of economic growth at the expense of renters who face increasingly high rent as a byproduct of these policies. There is a clear link between housing affordability (since that directly impacts rent rates) and homelessness. Those like myself who have benefited from this need to be willing to help those in society who lost out at our expense.

60

That's my point, Casino - you can't just throw a bunch of people into "housing" without some idea of what's going on. That's part of the reason why some people avoid the shelters.

61

@54: In regard to cities sending their homeless to Seattle, there are anecdotal accounts. I saw one in nextdoor.com of a woman who took in a homeless man into her home (bless her heart) who told her that's how he got to Seattle. It's not systematic, but it has occurred. And why not? Certainly plausible and Seattle has the reputation of being an overly welcoming city for the homeless.

62

Just to note, Seattle Schools and the City are STILL at an impasse over an encampment that was on City property but the City made the homeless move 20 feet and now they are on school district property and have been for months and months. Because of the impasse, the encampment has only grown larger and school starts in 2 weeks.

Just ridiculous but blame it on the senior leadership of the Board (Chandra Hampson) and the interim superintendent (Brent Jones).

63

@60: I misunderstood you. For me screening would be voluntary and way to better assist them. You're suggesting screening as a requirement to receive housing.

The goal should be to get them housing first. To the extent screening helps with that it makes sense. As a prohibiting factor fails to meet the primary goal and should be delayed. Housing first has a proven track record. Setting up arbitrary requirement for housing does not. There is little point in offering housing with screening as a requirement if that results in them not getting screening or housing.

64

@61: "In regard to cities sending their homeless to Seattle, there are anecdotal accounts."

If you ever start a response that way without data at some later point, best to stop there. I stop reading the moment I see "anecdotal accounts."

If you look at the article I attached you will see why. Plenty of cities have anecdotal evidence that Seattle is sending their homeless to them as well (Spokane is mentioned specifically).

65

I look at it this way: I had a good friend who was schizophrenic. When he was on his medication, he was fine. If he missed a dose, things got really weird really quick.

Once he disappeared for several days and was eventually located in a homeless encampment. He didn't want to go back to his apartment, he wanted to live on the street. Fortunately, they locked him up and medicated him and he came back to the real world.

If he had been housed without any sort of evaluation, he would have gone back on the street. As it was, he eventually deteriorated to the point where he had to be put in a group home.

But I very much feel that screening should be mandatory. We should not be allowing people to live in squalor in city owned property and right-of-way. It's inhumane and ridiculously expensive.

Provide quality housing and support services, and have zero tolerance for street and park camping.

66

@65: I'm glad things worked out for your schizophrenic friend.

Here's an example where incarceration of a schizophrenic did not turn our quite so well:

"Cops Who Tasered Handcuffed Teen on His Testicles Until He Died – On Video – Can’t Be Charged"
https://thefreethoughtproject.com/cop-tasered-teen-testicles-not-charged/

While not every example of police treatment of the mentally ill is this sadistic, there is widespread neglect of the mentally ill within our criminal system. Depending on the jails and jailers, treatment for the mentally ill generally ranges from neglect to abuse. Sending the mentally ill to jail for treatment is like sending your pet to the taxidermist to fix an injured leg.

Housing is better than living on the street, but both are better than incarceration, which is both more expensive and more brutal. Screening is important. Housing is essential.

67

Glad to see the park has been swept, although it is still so damaged from the long illegal occupation that it cannot be used. At least it is no longer a physical hazard to anyone who has to go near there.

This article provides more proof, as if any could possibly still be needed, of just how broken Seattle's response to homelessness has become:

"LIHI says tiny houses are also extremely effective: in 2019, they claim, 41% of tiny shelter residents later found permanent or transitional housing."

A 59% failure rate is "extremely effective" only at demonstrating failure. As LIHI obscured how many of the remaining 41% actually found permanent housing, we can assume it was a minority. The Poppe Report had this to say about transitional housing:

"Lengths of stay in transitional housing were shockingly long at 328 days for single adults and 527 days for families –more than 10 times the goal of housing people in 30 days. Long lengths of stay correlate to higher costs and have not been shown to be necessary for successful program exits."

[...]

"Transitional housing is extraordinarily expensive at more than $20,000 for each single adult exit and $32,627 for each family."

(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53206c76e4b0da7cd7fb97f6/t/57f39220cd0f68202b3705ba/1475580452747/Seattle+BPA+Final+Report+8.15.16.pdf)

So, LIHI was touting an "extremely effective" rate of entry into transitional housing, when transitional housing has long been recognized as extremely ineffective in getting people permanently housed. Does the doubletalk ever end? (If it perpetuates Sharon Lee's annual salary of a quarter-million dollars -- when the median annual household income in Seattle was one-third of her annual pay -- then I guess she'll keep doubletalking. What, you expected the head of the Low Income Housing Institute to accept less than a six-figure salary? Ha, ha, ha.)

"...sweeps occurring — which we do not support in any capacity."

I wonder if Jonathan Hemphill has talked with any of the persons who were violently assaulted by the former inhabitants of City Hall Park, and asked them if they support sweeps in any capacity? If he had, he might find their Lived Experiences of homelessness to be quite a bit different from his.

@13: "The reality is - the expensive housing created in the last 40 years or so by corporate landlords and developers who have torn down all the rooming houses and cheap apartments that used to exist is a cause of this misery. These were a way for people low on money to have a place to stay. Gone."

Then why are the former inhabitants still trying to live here? According to your own logic, they simply refuse to admit it's long past time to leave a housing market so expensive, they cannot possibly hope to afford it. Why should the rest of Seattle's citizens cede their parks and public spaces to persons who consciously reject reality? If I'd once lived in Medina, and could no longer afford it, I doubt the people who now live there would accept that as a valid reason for my sleeping in their parks. Your refusal to accept external reality is not my problem, and I should not have to pay for it.

68

The idea that the majority of the people living on the streets of Seattle would have been respectable citizens living in SRO hotels and boarding houses is laughable to say the least. Forty years ago, most of today's street people would be institutionalized, probably in an oppressive, jail-like environment.

The people who lived in those SRO's were mostly retirees and service workers. Today, low-income retirees have options like SHAG, and the service industry has changed radically. People don't work at a Jimmy John's for forty years, like one might have done at Ben Paris or The Bon Marche. Also, it should be noted that many of those jobs have disappeared with consolidation and technology changes. Forty years ago, Seattle had multiple department stores, banks, radio stations, etc - all with their own sets of workers. Now, we're down to Nordies and gig employment.

We definitely need more low-income housing, but building that in a city that has some of the highest real estate values in the world is a pricey proposition. Factor NIMBY-ism into that, and things get worse.

As far as the low-income service worker is concerned, I think part of the problem is that the mindset is that they either need a full-service apartment (ala Seattle Housing Authority) or should be content in a tiny house. An apartment is certainly desirable, and necessary for a family, but what about building more hotel-like housing? Single rooms with a bath and kitchenette. They could be standalone buildings, or incorporated into market rate housing. Building a forty story condo? Fine. Put in two floors of studio apartments. Put the entrance around the corner if you're afraid your "upscale" owners will be queasy to share a front entrance with normies.