Tag Archives: Homelessness

The Morning Update Show — 1/11

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Tuesday, Jan. 11

LIVE — Sydney Brownstone of The Seattle Times | Being Homeless in Seattle With Chronic Illness | City Council Hearing on SPD Proud Boy Hoax | Antonio Mays Jr. Murder Remains Unsolved

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NEWS GLEAMS: New Fund for Black Homebuyers, Booster Vaccine Trial Seeks Volunteers, & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: New Fund for Black Homebuyers, Booster Vaccine Trial Seeks Volunteers, & More!

King County Will Forego Annual Count of Homeless Population

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)

Last week, the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) announced that it will forego next year’s annual count of King County’s unsheltered homeless population, leaving the region without one major source of information about how many people are living unsheltered, and in what circumstances, for two consecutive years after last year’s count was scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The count, which is generally regarded as an undercount, is often used to measure whether homelessness is increasing or decreasing over time and how; in 2020, for example, the count suggested a large increase in the number of people living in their vehicles.

Continue reading King County Will Forego Annual Count of Homeless Population

OPINION: Homelessness, Poverty, and the City Budget

by Jay Sygiel, Isaac Litwak, and Sawyer Hanners

Walking down the streets of Seattle, tents, tarps, and sleeping bags have become a familiar sight. The state of homelessness in our city can only be described as a human services emergency. To solve this dilemma, we must look at where it stems from. The primary cause of homelessness can be boiled down to two things: the cost of living and the income gap that plagues the city.

In recent years, 77,300 Seattleites (5,000 more than the seating capacity of Lumen Field) reside below the poverty rate. Of these people, more than 11,000 of them are homeless and half of those are unsheltered. But this statistic is not representative of the amount of people not having their needs met due to low/unstable incomes. The national poverty line is set much lower than what is considered livable in Seattle. For one person to live comfortably here, you must make around $72,092, which is over five times the national poverty line.

Over the past six years, rents in Seattle have increased 57% while the average salary has not scaled to compensate for that increase. Thus, the income gap is only getting larger, leaving the people of Seattle in the dust.

Continue reading OPINION: Homelessness, Poverty, and the City Budget

OPINION: Second-Guessing ‘Woke City’

by Glenn Nelson

On a recent morning in Woke City, I had to perform a double take while swallowing guffaws between lumps of oat bran. Yes, I can be quite the multitasker that way.

“People were sick of the status quo and they wanted change,” Sara Nelson said on election night.

I was confused. Nelson (absolutely no relation) ran against Nikkita Oliver, who was the biggest change agent on anyone’s ballot that day. 

Then — snap — I thought, were we the status quo she was talking about? And by we, I mean folks who want to reform the police, have compassion for the homeless, and take a jackhammer to income inequality. And by folks, I mean mainly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, who are the most impacted by that Bermuda Triangle of social inequity.

Continue reading OPINION: Second-Guessing ‘Woke City’

Love, Mutual Aid, and Humanity at ChuMinh Tofu

by Johnny Fikru and Johnny Mao

It is no accident that ChuMinh Tofu still stands tall in a spot that other businesses have long since vacated. 

To date, Thanh-Nga “Tanya” Nguyễn and her staff have held down the spot on South Jackson Street for 10 years. Tanya’s journey to ChuMinh has involved a myriad of pathways. Medical school in Vietnam, biochemistry, a mindfulness in Buddhism, a passion for tofu, and a culture of caring — all manifest into the language of love present at ChuMinh to this day: food and mutual aid.

“I met Tanya years ago — I would come to ChuMinh Tofu and buy meals for community meetings. In the era I was raised in, banh mi was part of the diet at community meetings,” said organizer Johnny Fikru. “As I walked inside trying to determine what I wanted to eat, I was struck by the warm presence of Tanya. Anyone that’s ever been lucky enough to feel that energy knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s an inviting and warm presence. It’s authentic. It’s caring. It is peaceful. I was welcomed in a way that I haven’t felt at a restaurant, and it felt so great.” 

Continue reading Love, Mutual Aid, and Humanity at ChuMinh Tofu

As COVID Cases at Shelters Rise, Many Are Reluctant to Enter County Quarantine Sites

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

An alarming increase in COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness has been exacerbated in recent weeks, homeless service providers say, by rumors that if people enter a County-run isolation and quarantine site, they won’t be allowed to leave.

And even before these rumors began circulating widely, many unhoused people who tested positive for COVID-19 were reluctant to enter isolation and quarantine, for reasons that ranged from active substance use to the fear that if they left an encampment, they would lose everything they had — a not unreasonable assumption, given the recent uptick in encampment sweeps.

“The resistance, in my experience, has been across the board,” Dr. Cyn Kotarski, medical director for the Public Defender Association (PDA), said. “I haven’t met anyone so far who doesn’t have some fear and some resistance to go, and that’s mostly just because it’s overwhelming. It can feel pretty scary to think that you don’t know where you’re going or why, especially when you’re taking someone out of their own environment and their own community,” Kotarski said. The PDA is a partner on several efforts, including Co-LEAD and JustCAREare, to move unsheltered people into hotels during the pandemic.

Continue reading As COVID Cases at Shelters Rise, Many Are Reluctant to Enter County Quarantine Sites

With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

Advocates and city councilmembers are putting pressure on Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) to move forward with three new tiny house villages — groups of small shed-like shelters for people experiencing homelessness — this year, before the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) takes over the City’s homelessness-related contracts in 2022.

The short-term (and at this point, probably quixotic) goal is to convince Durkan and HSD’s short-staffed homelessness division to commit to moving forward with all three villages before the City’s homelessness contracts move to the KCRHA at the end of the year. The long-term goal, which may be equally quixotic, is to demonstrate strong community support for tiny house villages in the face of strong opposition at the new authority, whose leader, Marc Dones, has no allegiance to what has become conventional wisdom at the City.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted (and the mayor signed) legislation accepting $2 million in state COVID-19 relief funding to stand up three new tiny house villages and setting aside an additional $400,000 to operate the villages once they open — the Seattle Rescue Plan. Since then, HSD has declined to issue a request for proposals to build the villages, arguing that the council doesn’t have a long-term plan to operate the villages after this year. The longer HSD waits, the more likely it is that the job of deciding whether to stand up additional tiny house villages will fall to the regional authority.

Continue reading With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

Colleen Echohawk Joins YouthCare as Interim CEO

by Ben Adlin

Youth housing and services provider YouthCare, which operates an emergency shelter for young adults in Rainier Beach, announced Wednesday, Sept. 15, that longtime affordable housing advocate and former Seattle mayoral candidate Colleen Echohawk has joined the organization as interim CEO. 

Echohawk, who last May stepped down from a seven-year stint as executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a Native-led housing nonprofit based in Pioneer Square, said she’s “honored” to step into the leadership role at YouthCare.

“To me this seems like a very natural fit, to jump in alongside the staff and the executive team and the board at YouthCare to support their work [and] to provide some leadership, especially around the areas of diversity and inclusion and racial justice,” she told the Emerald. “That is the heart of the work that I get to do, and I’m excited to join a team that has been providing some of the most essential care for youth here in Seattle.”

Continue reading Colleen Echohawk Joins YouthCare as Interim CEO

Harrell Says He’ll Implement Key Provisions of ‘Compassion Seattle’ Measure, Clear Encampments

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

At a press conference a few hundred yards from an encampment in Woodland Park on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 2, mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell said that if elected, he would implement the key elements of Charter Amendment 29 — the “Compassion Seattle” ballot measure. A King County Superior Court judge tossed the initiative last week, agreeing with opponents that things like budgets and land-use policy are outside the scope of local ballot measures, but the campaign appealed to the Washington State Court of Appeals, whose ruling could come tomorrow.

Harrell’s “Homelessness Action Plan” would require the City to spend 12% of its general fund on homelessness, build 2,000 new emergency housing (shelter) beds within one year, create individualized “service plans” for every person experiencing homelessness, and, as Harrell put it, “ensure that our city parks, playgrounds, sports fields, public spaces, sidewalks, and streets remain open and clear of encampments.” These proposals are all identical to provisions of Charter Amendment 29, which Harrell supported.

At Thursday’s event, which was billed as a press conference but resembled a campaign rally, Harrell fielded questions primarily from a large group of supporters rather than the assembled press. “If and when you become mayor, how soon can we as Green Lake citizens expect to see these encampments gone?” one supporter asked. “I will say January or February, because I work with a sense of urgency,” Harrell responded.

Another asked how he’d respond to critics who say that his plan would mean sweeping encampments without providing services. “Look at my record,” Harrell responded. “There are no dog whistles. I don’t have a dog whistle. And I say, how dare people say that, when my wife and I’ve been doing this for 20, 30 years.”

Continue reading Harrell Says He’ll Implement Key Provisions of ‘Compassion Seattle’ Measure, Clear Encampments