Tag Archives: Seattle Homelessness

Then and Now: Seattle’s Plan for Homelessness From 2010 to 2020

by Luke Brennan


Over the last decade, Seattle and King County have taken various measures to support people living without permanent housing. In 2015, King County was investing $36 million a year to assist people living unhoused and at risk of becoming unhoused. 

Despite these efforts, homelessness has been on the rise since 2010, with increasing rent prices as the likely culprit. 

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OPINION: Don’t Be Fooled by ‘Compassion’ Seattle

by Tiffani McCoy and Jacob Schear


Throughout June, many Seattle voters have likely come into contact with paid signature gatherers wearing badges with purple and magenta rainbows stationed outside of grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants. They will ask you to sign their petition to “solve the homelessness crisis.”

These paid signature gatherers are working to get the “Compassion Seattle” charter amendment on the November ballot. If Compassion Seattle passes, this amendment would be added to our city’s charter.

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Compassion Seattle Amendment Faces Scrutiny From Democratic Group and Homeless Advocates

by Chetanya Robinson


During a June 16 town hall discussion organized by the 43rd District Democrats concerning Compassion Seattle’s proposed charter amendment on homelessness, critics who have personally experienced homelessness decried the details and general approach of the proposal. 

As the South Seattle Emerald previously reported, if Compassion Seattle’s amendment passes in November, it would force the City of Seattle to carve a new approach to homelessness directly into its charter. Compassion Seattle is a coalition of nonprofit, business, and community leaders. 

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Sweeps Continue in Seattle: Perspectives From the Street

by Luke Brennan


According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, more than 68% of the county is now fully vaccinated. This news, along with warmer weather and the CDC’s update that fully vaccinated people can start to safely resume pre-pandemic activities, has encouraged many to head to parks and sports fields. But for the unhoused, the return to normalcy brings precarity as the City of Seattle has resumed its controversial sweeps of homeless encampments.

As the pandemic has eased this year, some parents and community members made complaints to city officials concerning encampments in Seattle parks. This was the case at Gilman Park, where one parent reported that her child had received threatening comments from a homeless man who was living in the dugout. Gilman Park was swept on April 30, with 46 people offered referrals for alternative shelter in hotels or tiny villages by the city’s HOPE team. 

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Seattle and King County Receiving $26 Million in Federal Aid to Address Homelessness

by Emerald Staff


The federal government is releasing money to get people experiencing homelessness into stable housing through its coronavirus relief spending, and although the figure is substantial, it’s likely not enough to house all those who need it. According to a report released from Third Door Coalition last May, Seattle needs to build 6,500 units of housing over the next five years to adequately house its homeless population, at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion.

Continue reading Seattle and King County Receiving $26 Million in Federal Aid to Address Homelessness

Group Seeks Amendment to Charter Requiring Homeless Services and Clearing of Parks

by Ashley Archibald


A coalition of nonprofits, business organizations, and community leaders calling itself Compassion Seattle filed a charter amendment initiative Thursday, April 1, that they say would improve the existing response to homelessness in the City of Seattle. However, the measure does not specify the sources of funding for the ambitious package of housing and services it would offer. The measure will require a little over 33,000 signatures from Seattle voters to qualify for inclusion on the November ballot.

The amendment — which in its early stages was first reported on by Erica C. Barnett at PubliCola — would amend the City Charter, the foundational document of a city analogous to the U.S. Constitution at the federal level. The charter spells out the powers, functions, organization, and “essential procedures” of a city, according to the National League of Cities.

The heads of 11 organizations in Seattle’s business and nonprofit communities announced their  support of the measure, praising it as a valuable framework for addressing homelessness in the city.

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A Precarious Compromise on Homeless Outreach Inches Forward

by Erica C. Barnett

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


On Monday, Seattle City Council homelessness committee chair Andrew Lewis introduced a proposal that would restore funding for outreach to homeless encampments and lay the groundwork for what Lewis described as a new City “unsheltered outreach and response team” that would replace the controversial Navigation Team.

The surprising part is that the council and mayor’s office worked together on the legislation. 

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Durkan Suspends Navigation Team

by Erica C. Barnett 

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


On Wednesday afternoon, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced in a press release that she is suspending the operations of the Navigation Team — which removes encampments and provides outreach and shelter offers to their displaced residents — and pursuing “out of order” layoffs for 70 Seattle Police Department officers, “with the expectation that layoffs cannot be completed by November 1, 2020.”

The City Council’s adopted budget, which Durkan unsuccessfully attempted to veto, calls for a reduction of 100 police positions and the elimination of the Navigation Team. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navigation Team has not been removing encampments in significant numbers.

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OPINION: Point in Time Count, 2020 Version: More of the Same. We Need Change

by Gordon Mchenry, Jr.


The results of the 2020 Point-in-Time Count demonstrate what we already know —  that we must  accelerate our approach to how we fight homelessness. The latest data reflect what we sense and see: despite all of our efforts, the number of people who are experiencing homelessness has remained too high, with only slight variations from year to year. Far too many of our neighbors are suffering from the trauma of homelessness, housing instability, the pandemic, and inequities rooted in race and ethnicity.

This latest count found an increase of about 5% more people experiencing homelessness over 2019 — and the survey took place before the coronavirus pandemic caused the economic disruption that led to widespread loss of income. We are especially concerned about the growth in family and chronic homelessness. And we recognize that we have yet to see the result the recession has had on our most vulnerable community members.

Continue reading OPINION: Point in Time Count, 2020 Version: More of the Same. We Need Change

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.

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