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Ski
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PostWed Nov 04, 2020 7:59 pm 
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PUBLIC parks

https://komonews.com/news/local/environmentalists-sound-alarm-about-seattle-parks-as-homeless-encampments-mount

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Randito
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PostWed Nov 04, 2020 9:06 pm 
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Well, I suppose adopting a "housing first" policy and adequately funding it would help.
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Anne Elk
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PostWed Nov 04, 2020 9:36 pm 
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The link that Ski posted is appropriate for this section but discussion of same may not be possible given our posting terms, ie, refraining from political discussions.  I volunteer in the Seattle parks so am pretty invested in a POV on this topic, which is best left for letters to my district council member.  I was out of the state for two months this summer and could see marked deterioration in my own neighborhood in just that short time.

Randito wrote:
Well, I suppose adopting a "housing first" policy and adequately funding it would help.

We cannot adequately fund it because it's a bottomless pit, given the way our local gov't operates. By golly I might have to lock this up already.

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Randito
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PostWed Nov 04, 2020 11:02 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
We cannot adequately fund it because it's a bottomless pit,

The issue here in the US isn't lack of resources,  but the choices we make.    Somehow we manage to find $$$ for aircraft carriers, etc and a tax structure where billionaires pay scant taxes, but education, healthcare and housing we can't afford?
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Ski
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PostWed Nov 04, 2020 11:24 pm 
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yeah... sorry Anne Elk... dunno what I was thinking...

if you just lock it at least people will be able to find the link to the article.

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Anne Elk
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 12:25 am 
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Randito wrote:
Anne Elk wrote:
We cannot adequately fund it because it's a bottomless pit,

The issue here in the US isn't lack of resources,  but the choices we make.    Somehow we manage to find $$$ for aircraft carriers, etc

Sure, if the "we" you're referring to are those who make national policy and control federal  resources.  Municipalities can't tax their way to a solution, but around here they're trying, thereby putting everyone on modest or fixed incomes at risk of joining the homeless ranks.  Instead of looking to cities that have had some success, our electeds just flail around incoherently with policies sure to make things worse: Seattle's absurd misdemeanor proposal
The point relevant to Ski's original post is that (1) with this kind of ordinance (2) no more city navigation team and fewer police (3) little known under-staffing of Seattle Parks etc.  our green spaces et al will continue to deteriorate, and this "anything goes" attitude of the city just invites more of the same.  Residents were furious with former Councilmember Mike O'Brien's idea for explicitly permitting camping in our city parks; now the SCC has essentially made this a de facto policy by defunding the entities that kept it in check.

Ski - some of the moderators are OK with keeping this topic open, for now.

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Randito
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 12:34 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
Randito wrote:
Anne Elk wrote:
We cannot adequately fund it because it's a bottomless pit,

The issue here in the US isn't lack of resources,  but the choices we make.    Somehow we manage to find $$$ for aircraft carriers, etc

Sure, if the "we" you're referring to are those who make national policy and control federal  resources.  Municipalities can't tax their way to a solution, but around here they're trying, thereby putting everyone on modest or fixed incomes at risk of joining the homeless ranks.  Instead of looking to cities that have had some success, our electeds just flail around incoherently with policies sure to make things worse: Seattle's absurd misdemeanor proposal
The point relevant to Ski's original post is that (1) with this kind of ordinance (2) no more city navigation team and fewer police (3) little known under-staffing of Seattle Parks etc.  our green spaces et al will continue to deteriorate, and this "anything goes" attitude of the city just invites more of the same.  Residents were furious with former Councilmember Mike O'Brien's idea for explicitly permitting camping in our city parks; now the SCC has essentially made this a de facto policy by defunding the entities that kept it in check.

Ski - some of the moderators are OK with keeping this topic open, for now.

I agree that cities trying to address the issue individually is less effective.    For example several years ago Salt Lake City adopted a "Housing First" policy and dramaticaly reduced their homeless population -- this also reduced the amount of money the city was spending on the homeless population -- the costs of providing housing was offset by large reductions in emergency room visits by the homeless.

Unfortunately other cities in the region(Such and Los Vegas) figured this out and instead of adopting a similar policy -- they started arresting their homeless population and offer them the  "choice" of jail time or a one-way bus ticket to Salt Lake City.

So addressing the issue with a national program will likely be the most effective.
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Ski
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 12:35 am 
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Okay... well... let's see how it goes.
My appeals to local elected officials and administrators fell on deaf ears, or were answered with (1) a list of excuses about why nothing could be done and (2) a request of me to offer "solutions", of which I have none.

As I noted in my earlier communication (sent to you under separate cover), it should be obvious that any "solution" does not include a continuation of the current "do nothing" policy which seems to have been adopted by more than one local municipal government.

(Randy, the letter is in your P/M box. BK)

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Anne Elk
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 3:01 am 
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Randito wrote:
several years ago Salt Lake City adopted a "Housing First" policy and dramaticaly reduced their homeless population -- this also reduced the amount of money the city was spending on the homeless population -- the costs of providing housing was offset by large reductions in emergency room visits by the homeless.  Unfortunately other cities in the region(Such and Los Vegas) figured this out and instead of adopting a similar policy -- they started arresting their homeless population and offer them the  "choice" of jail time or a one-way bus ticket to Salt Lake City.

The number of homeless here keeps increasing, so maybe the Seattle metro area has the same problem as SLC, or is just a magnet for certain marginal types b/c of the city's laissez-faire attitude (soon to be worse), and all the available free stuff.  I was pretty impressed when I read several articles about San Diego's very organized approach to dealing with the homeless.  Why can't something similar be implemented here?  Sounds a lot cheaper and more organized than anything that we've tried, but our municipal leaders seem to function in a bubble and don't look into what's worked elsewhere.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 7:08 am 
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There was, and might still be, a volunteer group that was formed in Centralia/Chehalis.  They meet at a specific area and actually pick up the garbage left from camps.  They have collected an enormous amount of needles--it's scary to think of it.  Of course, they are careful and carry suitable containers for that particular item.

Seattle isn't the only place with this problem.  Centralia's got it too.

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neek
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 9:01 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
Why can't something similar be implemented here?

Pack people into huge tents in the middle of a pandemic when lows are dropping below freezing?  San Diego 2018 is not Seattle in 2020.

People complain incessantly about the (admittedly horrible) homeless situation in Seattle, but grossly oversimplify and offer no real solutions.  As a former tech bro I can assure you that any senior engineer or manager at amzn, goog, msft, fb, etc. is making about $500K and not paying much in local taxes.  Building affordable housing isn't cheap, but it's not a bottomless pit, and the money is there without taking a dime from those who can't afford it.
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Damian
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 10:09 am 
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Well it is often claimed that people flock to Seattle because of all the free stuff.  As a volunteer, I have not found evidence to support that.   Sure there are food banks, UGM, SVdP and others.  These services are more prominent in the cities.  That stuff is a drop in the bucket and falls way short of significantly facilitating the tens of thousands who live homeless outside our doors.  In general people are here for the same reasons we are.  Family, jobs, born here, etc.  But in most cases something went tragically wrong.  Addiction, rape, murder, sickness, and serous mental illness.  All very common.

There is much agreement on homelessness- nobody wants homeless people living in public places.  Problem is, homeless people don’t own land and have no place to go.  There’s a conservation of mass problem here.  When you sweep them from one place, they go someplace else.  I don’t blame people for not wanting camps in parks, or any unauthorized place.  I don’t either.  I encourage those upset about this to offer solutions to the appropriate leaders and land managers.  I offer that suggestion sincerely.  We need ideas from those who care.  We need ideas from the right and left.  These are everyone’s brothers and sisters.  We need everyone’s mind engaged.

If anyone would like to visit a homeless encampment, pls PM me.  More info is usually better.
Serious offer.
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Ski
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 11:16 am 
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Damian:
Thank you very much. I believe and appreciate your comments 100%.

An old friend of mine, who I haven't seen for over 40 years, told me during a phone conversation a couple years ago that he was involved in the construction of tiny "mini houses" for the homeless in Grants Pass, which underscores treeswarper's statement above about this not being just a Seattle problem and will, in the context of this conversation, hopefully help to dispel the myth about "they come to Seattle for the free stuff", which I find repugnant.

Unfortunately, I do not have any brilliant ideas for solving what is clearly a larger issue than just Seattle or Tacoma. My expertise is in sales and marketing, and graphic design and fine arts - I am by no means a sociologist.

As Randy has suggested above, this issue should be one addressed at a higher level of our government, as it is clearly nationwide. Trying to address this ad hoc only at the local level obviously isn't working.

Check your P/M box please.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 12:31 pm 
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We even have homeless people here.  They do have a problem once winter sets in.

I overheard one talking about being here during Stampede Week (covid cancelled this year) in an enthusiastic way.  He was telling them it was the only time he could camp in the park and not get kicked out.  The park is turned into a giant campground during that time.

We've also had the usual conspiracy theory driven people claiming that Seattle is sending their homeless here.  There was lots of talk about carrying those things that must not be mentioned by our citizens, so maybe that is why the homeless here are more subdued and hidden?

We could help a bit by simplifying the hiring process for ag work, if any of them want to work.  There is a large, bunkhouse type project that provides rooms for $3 a day if the renter is working in agriculture.  It opened just in time for Covid.

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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Nov 05, 2020 12:55 pm 
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Damian wrote:
Problem is, homeless people don’t own land and have no place to go

That might be an idea although I'm not sure it's feasible, that being to have land set aside for a permanent encampment, so no more moving from place to place.

The thing about building structures for them to reside in is that a large percentage of the homeless have mental health issues and/or substance abuse problems. So being in that state of mind they are not able to handle maintaining a livable residence. I have seen firsthand what addicts do to their living space. It essentially turns into a garbage dump (much like the homeless camps) and quickly becomes unlivable. They don't pay their bills, this piss off the neighbors, etc.

My main point being is that simply housing the homeless does not solve the problem in most cases. Many of them need treatment, therapy, and sometimes medication to deal with their issues.

It's like someone who inherits a lot of money and yet is quickly broke and has little or nothing to show for it. I watched a documentary about an older homeless man who they got into a house, set him up with food, utilities, etc..he went back to the street because that's where he felt he belonged and felt comfortable there.

So, in my opinion, simply providing housing is only a band aid solution and will likely fail in most cases. It's a complex issue and not easily solved.

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