Tag Archives: Houselessness

‘Compassion Seattle’ Charter Amendment Won’t Appear On November Ballot

by Erica C. Barnett

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


The Washington State Court of Appeals denied the Compassion Seattle campaign’s appeal of a lower-court ruling striking down their proposed Seattle charter amendment on homelessness this morning, and the measure will not appear on the November ballot.

In its ruling, the appeals court did not give any specific reason for denying the campaign’s appeal, which it filed on Tuesday after strongly suggesting it would not do so following last week’s King County Superior Court ruling. Knoll Lowney, an attorney for a coalition of groups opposing the measure, told PubliCola this week that he expected to prevail, in part because Compassion Seattle “appealed without coming up with any appellate arguments.” Instead, the campaign’s appeal relied on the same arguments it made in its initial response to the lawsuit against the initiative.

Continue reading ‘Compassion Seattle’ Charter Amendment Won’t Appear On November Ballot

‘Eco Blocks’ Are Concrete Signs of Seattle’s Failure to Address RV Homelessness

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement).


Drive through Seattle’s industrial areas — Georgetown, South Park, parts of Ballard, and SoDo — and it’s hard to miss them: Bulky, horizontal concrete blocks lined up like giant Legos along the sides of the street, preventing large vehicles from parking by the roadside.

Continue reading ‘Eco Blocks’ Are Concrete Signs of Seattle’s Failure to Address RV Homelessness

City, County Get Busy Spending Federal ARPA Relief Dollars

by Kevin Schofield


On May 25, the King County Council passed a supplemental budget bill allocating $367 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for COVID-19 relief, while Seattle officials unveiled a draft plan for how the City intends to spend its share of the $1.85 trillion pie.

The King County budget bill includes $631 million in new spending: $367 million from ARPA, $249 million from a variety of other sources, and $16 million from the County’s existing reserves. The Seattle plan appropriates $128 million from ARPA: $116 million of flexible-use “COVID Local Recovery Funds” or CLRF, and $12 million specifically targeted for housing and homelessness programs. CLRF funds are received from the federal government in two equal payments: one now, and the second approximately one year from now. Seattle is planning to spend its CLRF funds as they come in; however, King County has chosen to front-load $367 million of their total $437 million allocation this year, spending from its cash balance now and using much of next year’s second payment as reimbursement.

Continue reading City, County Get Busy Spending Federal ARPA Relief Dollars

Tiny House Village to Open in Skyway

by Elizabeth Turnbull


In roughly three weeks, community organizers transformed a bare lot in Skyway into a new village filled with tiny homes and amenities for people living without houses — creating a path for residents to ultimately transition to permanent housing.

“We are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, so this is what it’s about,” said Min. Kathy L. Taylor at a press event for the village, held Tuesday, June 9. “All of us at some time need some help, so this is a transition for folks that may have had a setback so that they can come here and have a strong comeback as they transition into permanent housing.” 

Continue reading Tiny House Village to Open in Skyway

Mayor and Council Unveil Economic Relief Plan, CD Gets More Affordable Housing

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Following a year of economic difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor and some Seattle City Council members have proposed that more than $100 million in federal recovery funds be designated toward critical areas of the local economy such as addressing houselessness and helping businesses recover.

The proposal, called the Seattle Rescue Plan, was released late last month by Mayor Jenny Durkan, Council President M. Lorena González, and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. It designates $128.4 million to focus on “homelessness, small businesses, direct assistance to workers and families, community health and equity” and the Council could vote on the measure as early as June 21.

Continue reading Mayor and Council Unveil Economic Relief Plan, CD Gets More Affordable Housing

Homeless Outreach Providers Say New Rules Would Put Them at City’s ‘Beck and Call’

by Erica C. Barnett

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


Homeless outreach agencies that contract with the City’s Human Services Department have threatened not to sign their 2021 contracts over new requirements that they argue would harm their relationships with clients and give unprecedented new power to the City.

Agencies that provide outreach and engagement to homeless encampments, including the outreach that happens before the City removes an encampment, have been operating without contracts since January. Late last month, HSD sent out new contracts that included requirements — not included in previous contracts — that would effectively subordinate the agencies to HSD’s HOPE Team (formerly the Navigation Team) and require them to create detailed “supplemental daily outreach reports” about who they contacted and what services they offered each day.

Continue reading Homeless Outreach Providers Say New Rules Would Put Them at City’s ‘Beck and Call’

Ticketing Vehicle Residents Is Eviction and Happening, Despite COVID-19 Moratoriums

by Samira George

(This article originally appeared in Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


“I used to live in those apartments,” Dee Powers, a 38-year-old Seattleite, said wistfully, “but I got priced out.” Standing in Seattle’s Occidental Park, coffee in hand, Powers stared at the distinctive white point of Smith Tower where across the street rests the old apartment Powers called home for five years.

The burst of the housing bubble in 2008 allowed Powers to rent a downtown apartment for $650 a month, but in 2015 they came home to a 60-day notice and a warning of a 40% rent increase. Since then, Powers has called a 40-foot RV home.

On April 13, five vehicle residents gathered at an action meeting in Occidental Park to share their unique car-living experiences in a city with a checkered past. All of the residents, including Powers, have either lived or are currently roaming Seattle’s streets in vehicles.

Continue reading Ticketing Vehicle Residents Is Eviction and Happening, Despite COVID-19 Moratoriums

Seattle Rejects Biden Administration Offer to Pay Full Cost of Hotel-Based Shelters

by Erica C. Barnett 


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

As funding runs out for JustCARE, a program that has moved more than 100 very high-needs people from tent encampments in Pioneer Square and the International District into hotels where they receive case management and services, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office has made it clear that it considers one source of funding off the table: money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which recently announced it would pay 100% of the cost for eligible hotel-based shelters.

“While we appreciate the work of President Biden’s administration,” City Budget Office Director Ben Noble and Office of Emergency Management Director Curry Mayer wrote in a letter to Seattle City Councilmembers this week, “there continues to be no option to receive 100% reimbursement of the operation and services of non-congregate shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness in King County or Washington.” In other words, the City is grateful that the new administration is offering to pay for hotels; they just don’t consider it a viable option for Seattle.

Continue reading Seattle Rejects Biden Administration Offer to Pay Full Cost of Hotel-Based Shelters

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

OPINION: War Against the Poor, Weeding of the Emeralds

by Villainus (formerly Bypolar)

People have blamed the houseless crisis in Seattle on a lot of things: mental illness, chemical dependency, even laziness. In truth, they point a finger in every direction except toward the root cause: gentrification.

Continue reading OPINION: War Against the Poor, Weeding of the Emeralds