Echoes of the history of Seattle’s relationship with homelessness 80 years on
by Caedmon Magboo Cahill
My Great-Uncle Agaton settled into Seattle’s Hooverville when he immigrated from the Philippines sometime in the 1930s. The City and census records I can find indicate he lived very close to a current SODO shelter that has been in the news.
Named for President Hoover and his disastrous economic relief strategy after the Great Depression, Hooverville was a collective of shacks built with discarded scraps of metal, tar paper, cardboard, and whatever could be salvaged to create shelter. While Hoovervilles cropped up across the country, Seattle’s might have been the largest and longest running. City records also show that by 1941, the City acted upon the recommendation of the “Shack Elimination Committee” and destroyed my great-uncle’s home along with all the others that comprised Hooverville.
Continue reading OPINION | Hooverville Then and Now: Who Is Worthy of Space?
by Ronnie Estoque
Byrd Barr Place has served the Central District community since the 1960s. The organization’s recent renovation of the historical building Firehouse No. 23 at 722 18th Ave is allowing them to return to the space with increased programming capacity, which includes food and energy and housing assistance as well as financial tools to more than 1,100 households every week.
Continue reading The Central District’s Byrd Barr Place Expands Programming in a Renovated Historic Space
by Tanya Woo
Residents and business owners of the Chinatown-International District (CID) are just now hearing about a $66.5 million, 6.8-acre project to expand and enhance a shelter that will house over 500 people with support for 50 RVs and a 50-home tiny house village. It was approved by the King County Council in partnership with Seattle and the King County Regional Homeless Authority. For a complex that opens this fall, these decisions were made without any meaningful community outreach or engagement. This follows a long history of policies that have been forced on the CID with no engagement or outreach. This is systemic racism.
Continue reading OPINION | King County’s Lack of Outreach on CID/SoDo Shelter Complex Is Systemic Racism
by Gennette Cordova
We all want less homelessness.
Some people believe that housing should be a basic human right. Others prefer that poverty in their city be out of their line of vision. Counter to narratives centered around addiction and mental illness often spun by The Seattle Times’ editorial board, the newspaper recently acknowledged that the cause of our city’s rampant homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. Rather than debating the morality of reasons rooted in compassion, the shamefulness of reasons based on aesthetics, or the virtue of rationale landing somewhere in between, we can build solutions based on the understanding that tackling homelessness will require us to do something about Seattle’s skyrocketing housing costs.
Continue reading OPINION | Everyone Wants Less Homelessness. Social Housing Offers a Viable Solution.
And Made His Struggle With Addiction Worse
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Here’s how charging documents describe Trey Alexander, a 40-something Black man who was recently charged with organized retail crime for stealing liquor from a Target store in downtown Seattle: a “career criminal” and “chronic shoplifter” whose offenses over the past 15 years have included theft, drug possession, and criminal trespass. (Trey Alexander isn’t his real name; we’re calling him that to protect his anonymity.)
Continue reading How Seattle’s Crackdown on Crime Ensnared a Homeless Man
by Mimi To and Jasmine Tran
Hi, our names are Mimi and Jasmine. We are members of the ACRS Civic Engagement Youth Organizing Team. ACRS (Asian Counseling and Referral Service) is a nonprofit founded in Seattle that offers community-based multilingual and multicultural services to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We are both Vietnamese American women who care deeply for our community and work to serve its goals.
Continue reading OPINION: Centering Compassion in Little Saigon
by Sarah Goh
On Thursday, May 5, the Southend Tiny House Village welcomed community leaders, volunteers, and advocates for its long-awaited grand opening. Located in South Seattle and a one-minute walk away from the Rainier Beach light rail station, the village will provide shelter and safety to an estimated 60 people. With a $250,000 grant from Lucky Seven Foundation and an additional $500,000 from King County Regional Homelessness Authority, Southend Village will officially open next Tuesday with residents moving in.
Continue reading Southend Tiny House Village Opens to Provide Shelter for Homeless
by Marcus Harrison Green
(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)
At times, our city’s most astounding feat is being well-versed in the language of compassion, without any fluency in the exercise of empathy.
A perfect illustration was the cruel contrast I witnessed visiting the corner of 4th Avenue and Cherry Street in late February, just days before Seattle’s eviction moratorium expired.
Continue reading OPINION: When It Comes to the Unhoused, We Speak With Compassion but Act Without Empathy
by Kathya Alexander
Several years ago — who knows how many; it’s been a long time ago now — a bald white man parked his very nice car across the street from my house in the Central District (CD). Our duplex kinda shares a parking lot with a Seattle middle school at a dead-end kinda cul de sac. Unlike most of the CD, my block’s not quite gentrified yet. On my short street, we got two old Black women, a Mexican family, and a white-looking Muslim guy. Sounds Black, so I ain’t sure. Nice neighborhood. Nice people. That Seattle kinda nice, where people speak and smile when they’re out walking their dogs but they ain’t all up in your business. Then I noticed that the car hadn’t moved for a while. Eventually, I realized that Bald White Man was living in his car. Then, sometime later, I figured out he was probably selling drugs, too. ʼCause I know the signs: A lot of people coming and going for short little visits to his car.
Continue reading OPINION: A Simple Solution to One of Seattle’s Homeless Problems
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
A three-week standoff between mutual-aid volunteers and the City of Seattle over a row of tents across the street from City Hall ended abruptly this morning, March 9, in a surprise sweep spearheaded by police and the Seattle parks department, who cordoned off Third and Fourth Avenues between Cherry and Washington Streets and began ordering people out of their tents at 8:00 am. (The parks department posted removal signs at 6:00 a.m., giving anyone who happened to be awake just two hours to pack up and get out.)
Continue reading Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown