Tag Archives: Homelessness

Mayor’s Office Refuses to Budge on Encampment Removals as Nearly Six-Hour Meeting Ends in Stalemate

by Erica C. Barnett 

(This article was previously published on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission.) 


If you’re looking for a takeaway from last Wednesday’s nearly six-hour hearing on legislation that would place some limits on the city’s authority to displace homeless people from encampments during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s this: Nothing is going to change. Representatives from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration made it abundantly clear, loudly and repeatedly, that the mayor does not consider policies governing encampment sweeps to be a matter that can be legislated under any circumstance, and that now is also not the time for discussing non-legislative solutions, such as changes to the administrative rules governing encampment sweeps in general.

Continue reading Mayor’s Office Refuses to Budge on Encampment Removals as Nearly Six-Hour Meeting Ends in Stalemate

OPINION: Mayor Durkan, if You Care about Public Health, Stop the Sweeps

by Julianna Alson, Omid Bagheri Garakani, Miranda Vargas


Dear Mayor Durkan,

We are Seattle-based public health practitioners and homeless service providers imploring you to stop the removals of homeless encampments. We also endorse Councilmember Morales’ Council Bill 119796 to limit encampment removals during the state of emergency. Seattle is under the national spotlight of pandemic response. You have the choice to set an example for the country with evidence-based public health strategies that truly protect public health and safety.

Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan, if You Care about Public Health, Stop the Sweeps

Co-LEAD Allowed to Start Moving People From Seattle Streets Into Hotels, Too Late to Help Those Removed in Last Three Sweeps

by Erica C. Barnett 

(This article was previously published on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission.)


More than six weeks after the Seattle-based Public Defender Association (PDA) launched its Co-LEAD program in Burien, the diversion program has come home to Seattle and began serving five homeless clients last week. Co-LEAD provides hotel rooms, case management, and other basic supports to people experiencing homelessness who have been in the criminal justice system and lack legal options for making money during the COVID-19 pandemic. After launching the program in Burien in April, the PDA had hoped to enroll some of the people who were dispersed throughout the city during several recent encampment sweeps, but were unable to do so because the city moved ahead with the removals before Co-LEAD case workers could identify and enroll new participants.

Continue reading Co-LEAD Allowed to Start Moving People From Seattle Streets Into Hotels, Too Late to Help Those Removed in Last Three Sweeps

Encampment Residents, Outreach Workers Say Trash Pile Beneath I-5 Six Years Old, But Officials Haven’t Taken Action

by Carolyn Bick


The mountain of trash that caught fire in South Seattle on the afternoon of May 18 has been sitting under Interstate 5 for several years, according to both residents of the encampment in which the trash pile is located, and outreach workers. But though officials from both the City of Seattle and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have in that time visited the encampment, and the city’s Navigation Team appears to have done a full encampment sweep in late May 2018, neither city nor state officials have taken action to remove the trash.

Continue reading Encampment Residents, Outreach Workers Say Trash Pile Beneath I-5 Six Years Old, But Officials Haven’t Taken Action

Grassroots Mutual Aid Network Provides Services for King County’s Unsheltered Community

by Carolyn Bick


The wind catches Dee Powers’ short, wavy hair as they lean out of the window of the mobile home they share with their partner. Squinting in the sun, Powers banters with Daniel Ojalvo, who has come to drop off jugs of bleach and other supplies that Powers will divide into small amounts for distribution among the homeless community.

Both Ojalvo and Powers are part of the homeless mutual aid network, a grassroots effort that formed to serve the homeless community during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The community often doesn’t have access to regular sanitation or food in normal times, and has even less access now as the pandemic sweeps across the world. Much of the regular homelessness outreach has dried up, since it’s more difficult to do outreach safely these days. That’s where the mutual aid network, in partnership with existing nonprofits and other community organizers, comes in.

Continue reading Grassroots Mutual Aid Network Provides Services for King County’s Unsheltered Community

Bill to Create Public Emergency Ordinance to Restrict Encampment Sweeps Set to Be Introduced at Seattle City Council on May 18

by Carolyn Bick


A bill that would create a public emergency ordinance to restrict the City of Seattle’s ability to sweep encampments during the current novel coronavirus crisis will be introduced to the Seattle City Council on Monday, May 18, with a vote to be taken on May 25, the Emerald has learned.

Continue reading Bill to Create Public Emergency Ordinance to Restrict Encampment Sweeps Set to Be Introduced at Seattle City Council on May 18

As County Opens More Non-Congregate Shelter to Prevent Spread of COVID-19, City Plans to Remove Two More Encampments

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article previously appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission)


Nearly two years after King County first announced that it planned to open a modular shelter for people experiencing homelessness on county-owned property in Interbay, the project is almost ready to open for a new purpose: Providing non-congregate shelter for between 45 and 50 homeless men over 55 from the St. Martin de Porres shelter, run by Catholic Community Services. The modular buildings, which are essentially trailers with windows, fans, and high-walled cubicles to provide privacy and protection from disease transmission between the four men who will share each unit, were originally supposed to be dorm-style shelters housing up to eight people on beds or cots.

Continue reading As County Opens More Non-Congregate Shelter to Prevent Spread of COVID-19, City Plans to Remove Two More Encampments

OPINION: COVID-19 Has Escalated Seattle’s Problems. It’s the Responsibility of Our Institutions to Escalate Their Response. Tax Amazon!

by Wesley Stewart


Five years ago, I was living in San Francisco as a homeless young adult. My experiences being homeless are formational to the person I am today.

I currently work at The Mockingbird Society as a veteran of homelessness, fighting to uplift the voices of homeless youth and young adults, and advocate for legislation to end homelessness altogether. Although we do not provide direct services to our homeless neighbors, my work has me engaging with the community, service providers, and officials at the city, county, and state level.

Continue reading OPINION: COVID-19 Has Escalated Seattle’s Problems. It’s the Responsibility of Our Institutions to Escalate Their Response. Tax Amazon!

OPINION: Seattle Must Stop the Sweeps and Build Tiny House Villages

By Reverend Angela Ying

How can Seattle have gone so wrong and become a city of people “sweeps?” The word calls to mind clean cities, such as Vancouver, Canada, and Toronto, Canada –– except sweeping is what they do to garbage. 

People are not garbage.

Seattle’s sweeps cost more than $8 million per year and has no proven track record of getting people into permanent housing. Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Must Stop the Sweeps and Build Tiny House Villages

OPINION: Seattle Isn’t Dying — Here’s How to Respond to People Who Think It Is

by Kayla Blau

By now, you’ve probably seen or at least heard about KOMO 4’s “Seattle Is Dying” documentary — it gained more than 4 million views online alone. The hour-long documentary is plagued with sensationalized claims, like “We don’t have homeless crisis, we have a drug crisis” (in one of the most expensive rental markets in America), and a menacing soundtrack that rivals Law & Order: SVU.

Continue reading OPINION: Seattle Isn’t Dying — Here’s How to Respond to People Who Think It Is