After showing up with a mob of 25 people in the lobby in front of the mayor's office without appointment, homeless advocacy group Seattle Housing And Resource Effort (SHARE) finally met with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn today at City Hall. The group has been pleading for a meeting since January.
After McGinn briefly greeted the group, mayor's chief of staff Julie McCoy and director of policy and affairs Ethan Raup agreed to sit down with the mob, says SHARE spokeswoman Revel Smith. "It was an affable 40 minute meeting, but there is no indication, yet, of what the city is going to do," Smith said.
SHARE told city officials that they needed emergency funds to cover a $50,000 deficit which would take care of debts, buy bus tickets for homeless people to travel to and from shelters, and maintain 11 of the shelters that had been slated for closure.
"For the past two years we have been in a crisis," Thomas said. "We have been cropping and saving and depending on donations. We are running a $17,000 deficit on bus tickets alone." Thomas said that although the talks had been positive, the mayor's staff had indicated that they were not in a position to make any decisions.
SHARE, which contracts with the City of Seattle to provide bus tickets and services for the homeless, announced Saturday that it will be forced to close 11 of its 15 shelters Thursday due to a lack of city funds. Four hundred people will be out on the streets without a place to sleep at night if that happens. SHARE member Jerry Thomas said that the group had originally gone to the Municipal Tower to meet with the new Director of Human Services Dannette Smith, but was informed that she was away for two weeks on personal leave. Smith's assistant told the group to talk to the mayor for emergency funds.
McGinn spokesperson Aaron Pickus avoided any meaningful comment, saying that the mayor's office "is considering next steps to best serve the homeless community in Seattle."