Last April I told you about Seattle’s serious homelessness problem. From my post:
“In 2016, the King County region saw an increase of 19% of our unsheltered population, the majority of those people residing in Seattle. In November of 2015, Mayor Murray declared a State of Emergency on Homelessness to bring light to this crisis and seek greater support from our state and federal partners. Mayor Murray has increased spending on homelessness intervention and prevention and the City of Seattle is now spending a record high of nearly $50 million dollars to address this crisis.”
How did the city respond to this emergency? They hired a “Director of Homelessness.” This was “to ensure that the City’s increased efforts are well coordinated and driving toward the greatest outcomes for those in need, the new Director of Homelessness will be tasked with executing the Mayor’s priorities on this issue.” The pay rate when this position was advertised? Between $97,279.92 and $160,483.68.
In August 2016, the city hired George Scarola to fill this position, who makes $137,500 per year.
Apparently just one high-paid city worker is not enough to help the homeless. Now comes this: Seattle hiring to clean up after the homeless.
From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle is putting its money where its mouth is in its latest effort to staff the homeless crisis. The city seeks to fill three positions, all targeted at cleaning up garbage along Seattle streets and around encampments.
“All three positions will support the city’s efforts to mitigate impacts of unsanctioned encampments,” said Julie Moore with the City of Seattle.
The first position will supervise pilot programs that address homeless litter in neighborhoods affected by encampments. Two other jobs will organize the cleanup efforts around encampments. All are already funded under the 2017-18 budget and pay between $37-46.80 and hour (that translates to $76,960/year – $97,344 [not including benefits]).
Seattle Public Utilities started two pilot programs in 2016 to address the issue of litter and trash related to the homeless crisis — the litter abatement pilot, and the encampment trash pilot. The Homeless Encampment Trash/Litter Abatement Pilot Program Administrator will oversee both programs. The position pays up to $46.80 an hour.
The homeless litter program focuses on street sweeping, washing sidewalks, and picking up trash in general. “The encampment trash pilot program provides scheduled solid waste pick-up services to five unsanctioned homeless encampments and on-call trash pick-up service, as needed,” Moore said. “This service is separate of collection of trash following a scheduled encampment cleanup.”
The program focused on the International District and Little Saigon when it was enacted last year. Four new neighborhoods will be added in 2017. It is unknown which four neighborhoods those will be.
Two Field Operations Supervisor positions were created in 2016 and have been filled temporarily. The city is seeking to fill them permanently for up to $42 an hour ($87,360/year). “They provide additional capacity to increase the city’s response to unsanctioned encampments…” Moore said, noting the supervisors will work with the city’s Navigation Team.
According to the job post:
The Field Operations Advisors will be responsible for coordinating cleanup efforts, directing on-site operations, overseeing assigned City employees and contract laborers, ensuring compliance with legal and environmental standards and regulations including outreach to offer alternative safe shelter, overseeing proper collection and storage protocols, collecting data, and liaising with other city departments, outside agencies, property owners, law enforcement, contractors and the public to ensure collaborative and efficient operations at assigned encampment sites.
All three jobs had an application deadline of March 14. It is unknown how soon the city plans on filling the positions.