News Jul 22, 2022 at 9:00 am

But We Don’t Have to Use It Like One

If counties use state money to treat people like trash, then they'll get trash results. Greg Stump

Comments

1

Oh, so most of the state is going to sweep, and King County will provide (some) services. I wonder where people are going to go after they are displaced in sweeps, and how happy the rest of state will be about offloading there problems on us (prediction: very).

2

Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!

Sweep them all the way down to Portland. Or better yet Sweep them back to Appalachia.

3

Sweep early, sweep often, keep on sweeping till they all go someplace else. We don't have the will power to solve homelessness so at least we can make it so the citizens of Seattle don't have to look at it. Make it so hard to live a homeless life in Seattle that they move someplace else, like Portland or Eugene.

4

"will just end up sweeping the same people over and over again until their core needs are met. "

That's right Hannah. We'll need to do that for the rest of our lifetimes, probably. So be it. I'm glad to pay taxes for it.

Repeatedly cleaning up is the moral thing to do. If there was trash, hazardous materials, and human waste on your living room floor, you'd repeatedly clean it up too.

6

Just drove by the mini-encampment south of the Aurora bridge, in a parking lot sorta across from the Aloha, and they were picking up the last of the garbage, fence around the parking lot. Sweep sweep sweep!

Though the encampments straddling the express lanes on the north end of the Portage Bay Viaduct are bonkers now. C'mon WSDOT...

7

@4. Yep. I run a small business in a near-in downtown Seattle neighborhood, and every morning I have to go out with my grabber and pick up the garbage people dropped or has blown in. Every single day. I'm not comparing the homeless to trash, but they certainly generate more than their fair share of it. Fair share...that's a good metaphor.

9

It's pretty clear that the 'hug-a-bum' crowd (and their ideas) have seen their high water mark. People are fed up with the vagrant (not homeless: we're talking about the 'shelter resistant' crowd here - the ones who came to Seattle not to change their lives but bc they knew they wouldn't have to. All vagrants are homeless but not all homeless are vagrants) issue and Hanna dear, Seattle just called: they want their city back.

'Housing First' and 'Harm Reduction' models do not work. Last week's front page article in the Times about 'Gonzo' and 'Grandma' illustrated that nicely. All they do is enable and coddle the transient addicts (of whom the vast majority flock here from outside Seattle), and postpone their near-inevitable meetup with the Grim Reaper. In the meantime they blight our city with crime and filth. The only winners are the ones at the top of the Homeless-Industrial Complex (like LIHI's Sharon Lee) who make serious bank by warehousing vagrants (they're like Pokemon! Gotta get 'em all!!).

We need (and are starting to do this) plans that help the ones who are willing to meet us halfway, and make life sufficiently inconvenient to the rest so that they either get clean or get out. We need programs that shelter and rehabilitate the addict AND discourage in-migration (see 'Vagrancy Tourism') of transient addicts and others who view the vagabond lifestyle as a legitimate choice. Any offer of shelter must be with a demand that the recipient agree to get clean. No more low/no-barrier housing. With so many productive, WORKING people in this town trying to get by, any housing taxpayers help build must go to them first - not Andy the Addict from Ashtabula.

The addict must agree to enter a mandatory rehab program which includes public service (preferably helping clean up the messes they made in the camps). Anyone who doesn't want to play can be swept early and often. It is not the obligation of taxpaying, law-abiding Seattleites to 'fix' every drug-addled drifter who rolls into town without a home/job/clue.

Oh, and stop infantilizing these vagrants. They are not hapless, helpless waifs. Most have survived - and thrived - on the streets for years. They are clever, canny, and resourceful people who can 'game the system' in liberal cities like a boss. Give them some agency here. The problem with progressivism is that everyone's a victim and nothing is their fault (it's the fault of Capitalism/Racism/Sexism/Anyism, and only taxpayer cash can help). They're smart enough to survive, they're smart enough to get out of this lifestyle if we just stop making it easy to stay in it.

10

you keep saying justcare works and is a super-successful alternative to sweeps, and the only data you provide to back that up is that they offered 14 people under I-5 shelter access. not even mentioning how many accepted or how many moved-on into permanent housing.
great success!

11

Seattle is experiencing a severe case of Compassion Fatigue, and now with $5 gas, inflation and a recession with likely layoffs on the horizon, Seattle residents are fed up with this intractable underclass that won't lift a finger to help itself (except to our bicycles and catalytic converters). They're done with people like 'Gonzo' (portrayed last week in the Seattle Time) who left free housing because he didn't care for 'rules'. We have enough of our own damn problems; we no longer have the luxury of carrying people like this.

Seattle taxpayer are finally reaching the end of their patience with an insular, out-of-touch Homeless-Services establishment which listens to no one but a small inbred coterie of the Activist Class. They receive and spend millions upon millions (and the budget just keeps growing), and yet all they've managed to do is not only grow the problem, but they attract thousands of transients from all points of the compass.

They resist any outside input and new ideas, and instead bullheadedly insist (like General Westmoreland in Vietnam) that the key is to simply do even more of what they're already doing. They remind me of Gen. Melchett in "Blackadder Goes Fourth" when he said: "That's the spirit, George! If all else fails, a pigheaded refusal to look facts in the face will always see it through."

The Gravy Train has left the station and it's not coming back any time soon. Recession is coming and budgets and patience are shrinking. Seattle isn't becoming heartless towards the vagrants, we're just tired of being 'played' by the Homeless-Industrial Complex.

12

When I "clean the house", sweeping the dirt from the living room to the bedroom to the kitchen and back to the living room doesn't help a damn thing.
It just leaves the house as dirty as it was before.

All these "programs" are, is a make-work project for lawyers and trigger-happy cops.

I guess that's what they mean by "helping people".

13

when shall we sweep
the couch cushions of
the richest amongst us
and provide Housing for all
as well as Healthcare etcetera

we're okay with some
having Nothing whilst
others have Ships made
to order, too Large to sail
without removing bridges
or for rocketing off to Space
trying to decide Which of their
Dozens of homes to visit next. wtff

epic Inequality
Wars over property
a catastrophic Climate

are likely to upend this
civilization and the 'bottom'
99% will all become Vastly more
'equal' than we've ever even Dreamed

the Status Quo
Ain't gonna
Fix itself.

14

@11 I echo your viewpoint... and yes the recession is going to be a game changer both in terms of sentiment and politically. The democrats are in deep doo doo this time round.

Seattle is experiencing a severe case of "compassion babble". Where one laments the "disparity in life" ... the latest "heat disparity", disparity in what one can feeds their pets... good grief.

The sweeps are a normal response to what amounts to a massive, expensive series of "do nothing programs" which have not solved the problem, nor are they likely to solve the problem as the past 10 years has so painfully illustrated..

Yes, indeed there is fatigue by the average taxpayer seeing their money squandered on what are essentially vagrants or drug addicts. One begins to wonder why money is being wasted on them as opposed to being spent on say things like better roads, child care, schools, police protection perhaps... etc.... things which taxpayer's have come to expect.

15

gosh manlytoes
if only hadn't let
the filthy Rich siphon
the Fruits of the Economy
up to the One Percent we might even
Have all those things you're so Excited about

it's GOOD
to be Rich

the reat of us will
soon enough be

essentially vagrants
or drug addicts.

16

oh and de-humainzing
the "vagrants" or Drug Addicts

whilst turning a blind eye
to an insidious Inquality

may speak to your
Compassion Index.

unless I'm Mistaken
your Compassion
for the Wealthy
vastly out-
weighs

the rest of
the Citizenrty's

and then there's
The Sacklers addicted*
MILLIONS and pocketed

fucking Billion$
where's the
Outrage?

*perhaps more than a few
Sackler Survivors are on our Streets

good ole Capitalism.
oh and OWNING all
of OUR Lawmakers

not to mention
Judges.

'repubs' are excellent at this shit
plus overly-well-funded

17

Justice would be the whole
damn sackler fambly
living on the Street.

feel free
to Judge
them as
well

18

@9 - Thank you! Keep telling these facts. A remarkable summation!

19

Sweep em all into the county and state jails. Seattleites are sick of smelly and gross bums pissing and shitting and smoking their nasty ass Fentanyl everywhere. We are sick of their eyesore vehicles. We are sick of all the criminal activity associated with this "lifestyle". Until this state gets serious about taxing the income of billionaires who live here to fund the more compassionate programs I don't want a cent of my tax dollars to be spent on this problem than is necessary. If sweeps are the solution that fits this bill so be it.

Sorry "unhoused population", if you don't want to play by the rules of society then you'll find society has low tolerance for you.

20

"Governor Inslee Created a Slush Fund for Sweeps"

Wrong. The Dep't of Commerce gave money to local counties, for removal of dangerous encampments along high-speed roadways. Democrats in the legislature put their anti-sweep ideology ahead of saving human lives, and tried to restrict the Dep't of Commerce from funding sweeps. At this they failed, because anti-sweep ideology has failed, and voters in Seattle indicated wanting sweeps in last November's elections. So, the money may be used to sweep encampments.

"Though living in tents next to roads presents dangers to all, sweeps do not reduce that danger long-term."

That second clause is not even close to being true. There was a large encampment under the Spokane Street Viaduct for years, until it was swept, and the area closed to campers. There are no encampments there now. So, the entire justification for holding up this money was based on a lie. (Did anyone die in an encampment due to anti-sweep ideologues holding up disbursement of these funds?)

@10: "you keep saying justcare works and is a super-successful alternative to sweeps, and the only data you provide to back that up is that they offered 14 people under I-5 shelter access."

That's because JustCare is both expensive and ineffective. From the linked article ("numbers") at the Seattle Times:

"...JustCare’s annual reported cost per shelter bed in 2021 was $127,376, according to city documents obtained by The Seattle Times. That’s more than double what the Downtown Emergency Service Center, a shelter operator that also focuses on people with complex needs, charged per bed at its Red Lion hotel shelter program."

[...]

"A Seattle Times investigation in August 2021 found that 10 months after JustCare helped 57 people living at an encampment under Interstate 5 move into hotel rooms, more than one-third of them were out of the program and likely living back on the streets."

While JustCare itself is a new program, it is not a new type of program. Moving persons off the streets and into hotels, where they await permanent housing, is called, "transitional housing." The Poppe Report cited the high cost and low effectiveness of transitional housing:

"Transitional housing is extraordinarily expensive at more than $20,000 for each single adult exit [into permanent housing]..." (http://www.seattle.gov/documents/departments/pathwayshome/bpa.pdf)

That was in 2016. While the price tag has since gone way up, the results have been the same.


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