Category Archives: homeless

Seattle City Councilmember will introduce legislation to create new mental health and substance addiction first-responder program

Andrew Lewis, Seattle City Council, Dist. 7

Last week Seattle City Council member Andrew Lewis proposed legislation to create and fully fund a new mental health and substance addiction first-responder program. Andrew just assumed office this past January and has spent his career in the public sector.

About Andrew’s proposed legislation, from the City’s web site:

“Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis, Chair of the Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness Strategies and Investments, announced this morning he will introduce legislation to create and fully fund a new mental health and substance addiction first-responder program, based on a Eugene, Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets, or CAHOOTS.

CAHOOTS outreach teams are unarmed and composed of a medic and a mental health crisis worker. They are immediately dispatched by 911 to respond to people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis and can offer counseling, conflict resolution, housing referrals, first aid, and immediate transportation to services.

“When a building is on fire we send the fire department. When someone has a stroke we send an ambulance. Why do we send armed police to help someone in a mental health or drug-related crisis? By the most conservative estimates one in every four people fatally shot by a police officer has a mental illness. This has to stop,” said Councilmember Lewis.

CAHOOTS has been in existence since 1989 and is operated by Eugene’s White Bird Clinic. On an annual basis, CAHOOTS responds to nearly 24,000 calls, representing almost 20 percent of all 911 calls. Out of all those calls, CAHOOTS workers only requested police assistance 150 times in 2019. More than 60 percent of CAHOOTS’ clients are experiencing homelessness. This successful program has saved Eugene on average $8.5 million a year in policing costs and $14 million a year in emergency medical response costs.

We cannot police our way out of poverty, racial inequity, homelessness and our mental health crisis. By diverting these types of calls to CAHOOTS, Seattle has the opportunity to save money and invest in a program that adequately responds to people’s essential needs,” Lewis said.”

CAHOOTs describes themselves as “critical assistance helping out on the streets.”

From the CAHOOTS web site: “We are a funny blend of idealism and realism. We are committed to being of service to the community and the clients we serve and we share a hope for a better world – we take pride in doing our part!”

Eugene Police with a homeless man

So how is CAHOOTS making Eugene (Lane County) a better place?

From October 2019: “Eugene has most homeless per capita in US”

From July 2018: For the last 30 years, Lane County’s suicide rate has exceeded the national average.

From July 2016: The Eugene area has one of the highest rates of excessive drinking in the state – 22%. Oregon as a whole has a rate of 19%. Lane County has a fatal overdose rate of 15 per 100,000 residents, resulting in 156 deaths in 2014. This ranks #12 in Oregon.

Homeless encampments in Eugene/KLCC photo

While democrats are rushing to #defundpolice, this CAHOOTS program is being pushed in the media as an effective model for prioritizing mental health over police.

While CAHOOTs may be saving the city money and de-escalating some situations, I question just how effective the program has been in “enabling people to gain control of their social, emotional, and physical well-being through direct service, education, and community.”

Saving taxpayer costs on emergency response calls may be beneficial yet how much better are the residents/taxpayers of Eugene when – overall and in the long run – homelessness, suicide and substance abuse statistics do not improve? I guess that depends upon your definition of “adequately respond” and “gain control.”

DCG

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SF Mayor Breed: I’m a black woman before a mayor; we need allies, not slave owners

Mayor London Breed

San Francisco Mayor London Breed had some interesting things to say at some recent rally and protests. She sounded a little racist to me. But maybe that’s just my white privilege interpretation.

San Francisco Public Press tweeted out snippets of her comments:

“Mayor London Breed tells City Hall protesters she got into office to make real change. “I am hurting like I have never hurt before.”

“Mayor Breed: “We need you to be allies and stop telling black leaders, if you are not black, what the hell to do. I know what to do when it comes to my community. I don’t need a co-signer. I don’t need a slave owner telling me what to do.

She also said this:

Yes, I’m the mayor, but I’m a black woman first.

“But I want to say one thing. I want to say one thing, black lives matter is nobody’s joke. I’m tired of people treating it that way, I’m tired of people masking their racism in black lives matter. It is not a joke, it is not a joke. It is born out of pain, it is born out of racism that we are going to fight against, it is born out of our struggle, our blood, sweat, and tears, for all that we have struggled through in this country. Don’t get it twisted, it is not a joke.”

You can read the full transcript here from the June 1 event.

What does that mean exactly, “I’m a black woman first?”

Does Breed have a loyalty to her race and gender that takes priority above her oath as mayor?

And who exactly is a slaver owner in 2020?

Does she plan to put the priorities of “her community” before that of Hispanics? Whites? Any other race?

Apparently what it means is a reform of the policing community due to “a lack of equity in our society overall [that] leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve.”

The LA Times reports that Breed has several solutions to police reform to address the lack of societal equity that exists in San Francisco. Oddly enough, San Francisco’s societal inequity and racism hasn’t been solved since 1964, the last time there was a republican mayor of San Francisco. Guess Mayor Breed is going to be the one to finally solve systemic racism in San Francisco.

That includes the following police reforms:

• Ban the use of military-grade weapons against unarmed citizens (I suppose the police are to have X-ray vision to determine if someone is conceal carrying.)
Incorporate testing for bias and potential for abuse of force
• “Reel-back” the release of booking photos

Course the police will most likely have less encounters with citizens as the mayor’s reform includes replacing police with “trained, unarmed professionals to respond to calls for help on noncriminal matters involving mental health, the homeless, school discipline and neighbor disputes.”

Read about all of the mayor’s proposed reforms here.

You’d think that more than $12 BILLION dollars spent in the last fiscal year would have been enough to end the homeless problem and respond to their needs (which has included medical, social and psychological services; education and outreach services).

I’m sure that re-allocating funds from the police department to address noncriminal issues will solve all of San Francisco’s societal and racial problems. If after 50 years the demorats haven’t been able to fix their problems, I’m sure this black woman knows exactly what to do when it comes to her community. No joke.

DCG

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Seattle government hard at work during the Wuhan virus

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

You really believe that these bureaucrats are going to protect you? They can’t even solve a decade-long problem of homelessness nor properly set up a web site.

From Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Twitter timeline of accomplishments in her city:

“Since mid-April, the Navigation Team has referred 29 unsheltered individuals from the Ballard Commons area to recently opened tiny home villages and enhanced shelter beds at Lake Union Village, T.C. Spirit Village, and Lakefront Community House.”

As of 2018 there were over 12,000 homeless people in Seattle. The city has a population of just over 600,000. The city managed to refer 29 “unsheltered” people to tine home villages. You do the math.

The good mayor also sent out this tweet to apparently help somehow help small businesses impacted by the mandated shutdown:

“Nearly 5,000 businesses responded to round one of the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. Round two is now open! Respond by May 21: https://bit.ly/3deWLii #SupportSeattleSmallBiz @SeattleChamber”

One problem when you click on the Seattle OED link: 404 – File or directory not found. The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.”

But it’s all good because of course, a hashtag: #WeGotThisSeattle!

No parks for you!

But room for you!/Q13 Fox photo

Homeless allowed to “social distance” during Wuhan virus in Seattle/photo by Rob Harwood

DCG

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Committed to public health: Washington State governor extends “stay at home order” while homeless in Seattle free to set up camps at every street corner

Demorat Governor and failed presidential candidate Jay Inslee issued a “Stay at Home” order for Washington on March 23. This past Wednesday he confirmed that the order would continue beyond May 4, He did not indicate when that order would be lifted and is expected to provide more details today.

Guarantee you it will go on and on and on.

He also thanked Washingtonians for their commitment to public health, despite an upheaval to daily life.

Want to know exactly HOW committed the governor is himself to public health? Just take a look at what is going on in Seattle (specifically, the Ballard area): The city has paused the cleanup of homeless encampments sweeps.

Here’s a picture of what is going on in downtown Ballard, courtesy of Rob Harwood who shared them with Jason Rantz of MyNorthwest.com. See all the pictures here.

Homeless tents set up along a street in Ballard (Seattle)/Rob Harwood photo

Due to the Wuhan virus, the city is not making homeless encampments disappear. The homeless are free to set up tents where ever they want. Tell me how homeless people, without access to proper hygiene facilities, are positively contributing to “public health?”

Are the homeless disposing of their trash properly? Are they using restroom facilities or the streets? Are they able to wash their hands? Do they have to wear masks?

And of course with more homeless comes crime. It’s so bad that some residents are suggesting that one arm themselves (always a good idea, IMO). They don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods. Read that story at KOMO News here.

Washingtonians are ordered to stay home while the homeless and criminals are set free. That’s how they protect public health!

DCG

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LA finally going to solve homeless crisis with “Housing Central Command”

The street of LA…

Like many progressive-run, West coast cities, Los Angeles has had a homeless crisis for many years.

In June 2019, it was announced that the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped 12 percent over the previous year, despite $619 million in government tax spending tax payer dollars to help alleviate the problem.

After spending all that taxpayer money to barely make a dent in their crisis, the bureaucrats have come up with a solution: the creation of a “Housing Central Command” center. Details from Yahoo:

“Los Angeles city and county officials on Tuesday announced a new strategy to speed the process of getting homeless people into permanent housing that is modeled on the federal government’s response to natural disasters.

The creation of a “Housing Central Command” marks an overhaul of how agencies work together in addressing the growing number of people living on the street, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Previously the system was slowed by red tape and gaps in information showing what housing units were available and who is eligible to move into them, officials said. In some cases there was a waiting period of 10 months from a person being matched to housing to signing a lease.

“Nobody was holding the full picture of resources,” said LAHSA interim executive director Heidi Marston. “Our systems weren’t talking to each other.”

The new initiative uses a “war room model” inspired by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s approach to finding homes for people suddenly displaced by hurricanes, Marston said. Now officials will have access to real-time data showing housing availability as well as funding streams, according to LAHSA.

Since the launch in December, officials have identified some 3,000 potential housing units that were previously not part of the overall inventory, Marston said.

The central command is a major step toward restructuring a response system overseen by LAHSA that also includes housing and development authorities, the mayor’s office and health departments.

“We have a high number of people who need to be rehoused rapidly,” Marson said of the situation in greater Los Angeles, where officials have declared homelessness a state of emergency. Including crisis-response experts on a day-to-day basis shows that officials are treating the problem with the urgency it deserves, she said.

In its 2019 count, the authority reported that there were close to 60,000 homeless people living in LA County, with more than 36,000 of them in the city. All but about 25% live on the streets. Freeway overpasses are lined with tents, and it’s a common sight to see someone pushing a shopping cart filled with belongings through downtown.

According to LAHSA and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, an average of 130 homeless people in Los Angeles move into housing daily. However, an average of 150 people become homeless every day. “The homelessness crisis demands an emergency response, and moving the needle means being nimble, flexible and creative with our resources,” Garcetti said in a statement praising the new strategy.

Through the new process, officials also discovered $30 million of a $107 million grant from HUD to Los Angeles in 2017 had gone unspent within a calendar-year deadline, LAHSA said.

That happened because of low vacancy rates and higher market rates than public housing authorities could pay, LAHSA officials said, along with “landlord bias” against tenants with mental disorders or a history of homelessness.

“It is completely unacceptable that housing funds were left unspent when our unsheltered neighbors continue to languish out on the street,” said LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis. The new efforts will leave behind a “disjointed” system and “maximize all of the region’s resources,” she said.”

Read the whole story here.

While HUD Secretary Ben Carson met with Los Angeles officials a week ago to discuss strategies for addressing homelessness in Los Angeles, I’m not holding my breath that the demorats in charge will actually accomplish any major goals. Well, maybe just one: the “discovery” of more unspent taxpayer dollars.

DCG

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Liberal utopia of Seattle: Highway workers struggle to keep ahead of piles of trash

DCG

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It will never be enough: Guess how much taxpayer money is needed to solve King County’s homeless crisis

The 2019 King County Point in Time County data showed that there were 11,199 people experiencing homelessness across the region. This included 5,971 people sheltered in emergency shelters, safe havens and transitional housing and 5,228 people on the streets, in vehicles or staying in tents or encampments.

These numbers represented a 17% decrease in unsheltered people – the first decrease in homelessness in the region in the past seven years.

In March 2005 King County developed a ten-year plan to “end homelessness.”

Fast forward ten years to 2015 when King County/Seattle couldn’t end homelessness and then declared a “state of emergency” on the homeless crisis.

Since then, they have been spending over a BILLION a year to solve the homeless crisis. A BILLION taxpayer dollars a year for the end result of a 17% decrease (which took seven years to achieve).

A report done by McKinsey & Company consulting firm now estimates that it will cost between $450 million to $1.1 billion a year over 10 years to fully house the homeless and low-income population.

The study states that the county has spent billions of taxpayer dollars and their “best efforts have been aimed at the symptoms of this problem and not at its root causes.”

Apparently the solution is to build additional affordable housing that will require substantial incremental public spending. As the study notes though, “building alone will not fix the problem.”

Also from the study:

“It is common to lay the blame for homelessness on individual failures and personal weaknesses. More than one civic source has attributed homelessness to addiction. Others cite mental health or a failure of “personal responsibility.” People point to alcohol abuse and, in the case of veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder, as possible root causes. In fact, the majority are not addicts, and very few people cite substance abuse as a root cause of homelessness.

McKinsey & Company’s conclusion: “Seattle and King County can set an example for other coastal cities battling homelessness by confronting homelessness in a fact-driven manner melding head and heart. The region’s prosperity ought to be an impetus and catalyst for positive change. Reducing homelessness to near-zero levels should be the collective goal.”

Read the whole study here.

The majority of homeless in King County are not substance abusers nor do they have mental illness issues? That’s news to me.

In the Seattle area, it is estimated that 46-70% of homeless women and men report having substance abuse issues. And last July it was reported mental-health detentions had surged in King County, with homeless people more likely to return. From the Seattle Times story:

“People with housing instability represented 25% of all involuntary treatment cases from 2014 through 2018, and 41% of people with at least three prior cases, according to the auditor’s office report. More than 50% of people with unstable housing returned to the system within three years, compared to 36% of people with stable housing.”

My prediction: Fast forward to 2030 and after $11 BILLION taxpayer dollars has been spent, you are still going to have a homeless crisis in King County. After all, “fact-driven” solutions that ignore obvious root causes of homelessness only fund$ the homeless industrial complex.

DCG

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Oakland City Council moving to ban landlords from conducting criminal background checks on tenants

Last year California’s homeless rate increased by 16 percent.

Last year the share of felony offenders in California rearrested for any offense within two years was at 66 percent.

Seems that decades of progressive leadership and policies hasn’t done anything to decrease homelessness in that state. So I guess it makes sense to go after private property owners rather than the mentally ill and drug-addicted folks living on the streets. That’s liberal logic for ya.

Excerpts from SF Gate:

“The Oakland City Council on Tuesday moved to approve an ordinance that would prohibit landlords from asking about a potential tenant’s criminal history or rejecting them out of hand for having a record.

Council members voted unanimously to pass the Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance, which supporters say will help ensure ex-cons can find secure housing instead of ending up on the streets.

The council must still take a final vote on Feb. 4 before the measure takes effect, the East Bay Times reported.

Oakland’s ordinance is the strictest of its kind in the state, covering both public and private housing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

This ordinance is about making sure returning community members have equal opportunities they deserve to successfully reintegrate into our community, and this begins with a roof over your head,” said Oakland council member Nikki Fortunato Bas, who co-sponsored the measure with council member Dan Kalb and Vice Mayor Larry Reid.

The measure prohibits landlords from rejecting a potential tenant because of his or her prior conviction or from requiring disclosure of a criminal history in background checks. Landlords will have six months to adapt to the law. After that, they could face fines of up to $1,000 for each violation.

The Oakland ordinance does have some exemptions for single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and in-law units if the owner is living on the property. Likewise, tenants seeking to add or replace a roommate would be exempt.”

Read the whole story here.

It’s interesting to note that the following are exempt: Owners of government-subsidized affordable housing, including federally-subsidized Section 8 units, who are required to exclude certain renters based on their criminal records.

DCG

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Washington aims to make it tougher to evict tenants; after all, a month of unpaid rent is just an “inconvenience” for a landlord

Demorat-run Seattle/King County has a terrible homeless problem that has been festering for years.

It’s been 15 years since King County developed their ten-year plan to end homelessness. As is typical with demorats, they never look to address the core issues of a problem. Rather, they seek out ways to control other individuals’ rights and, of course, get more taxpayer dollars.

Back in 2007 Metropolitan King County Council called for a study of the individuals with mental illness and chemical dependency involved in the justice, emergency services and homeless services systems. They found that the incidence of recent incarceration among homeless adults receiving publicly funded mental health treatment was four times the incidence of those who are not homeless.

So the bureaucrats are fully away that drug abuse and mental illness are part of the homelessness problem.

Also part of the problem? The criminal justice system and lack of accountability that the homeless criminals face. A quick search on our site for “repeat offender” will show plenty of examples of Seattle/King County’s efforts in “criminal justice reform.”

A King County Superior Court judge recently commented on why repeat offenders receive no punishment saying, “We’re just talking about property crime.”

So the bureaucrats are fully away that the criminal justice system does not work in favor of the law-abiding and taxpaying citizen.

Now bureaucrats have a new plan to address homelessness: Give renters more protections.

As reported by MyNorthwest.com: “The proposed standards would require landlords to give good or just cause, covering up to 18 cited issues by Tenants Union, including nonpayment of rent, noncompliance with lease terms, and chronically late rent payments, among other reasons. Landlords would not be able to evict for retaliatory or discriminatory reasons. Recent studies have indicated a correlation between evictions and growing rates of homelessness.

In their article I clicked on the “recent studies have indicated a correlation” to find out exactly who authored this study. Imagine my surprise when I found it to be the Seattle Women’s Commission and Housing Justice Project (a homelessness prevention program of the King County Bar Association). Not exactly non-partisan entities without any direct stake in the homeless matter.

You can read the full report at the MyNorthwest.com story.

Excerpts from their study:

From the Executive Summary: While a month of unpaid rent might be an inconvenience for a landlord, an eviction can mean life or death for a tenant. National research shows eviction is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Despite these serious societal consequences of systemic evictions, a deep analysis of eviction causes, process, and outcomes has never before been carried out in Seattle. Because the city is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis, and we knew anecdotally that this crisis disproportionately impacts marginalized communities such as women, people of color, and people in poverty, the Seattle Women’s Commission (SWC) and the King County Housing Justice Project (HJP) decided to undertake research to fill this gap.”

Rebalance the Scales of Justice: Limit non-rent charges and the imposition of attorney’s fees, expand courthouse-based resources to include social services and financial assistance, and limit reporting of landlord-tenant debt unless reduced to judgment.”

Make it Possible to Pay Rent: Require landlords to offer payment plans, increase time periods to cure nonpayment of rent, and increase subsidies to tenants at risk of eviction.”

I was a landlord in King County until I sold my property in 2015. I can tell you that missing payment for one month of rent and covering other charges would have been a MAJOR inconvenience that would have caused me great stress. Not all landlords are flush with bundles of cash to cover their mortgages in case tenants can’t pay. And I know of ZERO mortgage companies that would accept a “payment plan.”

But Seattle/King County bureaucrats don’t think that way. That would require addressing core issues of those who they seek to keep dependent upon the government. And it wouldn’t allow them the opportunity to seek more taxpayer dollars in the name of “solving” a crisis.

DCG

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Guess how much WA State governor wants to spend to “fight” homelessness

Liberal utopia of Seattle/Q13 Fox photo

You will not believe the amount of taxpayer dollars Gov. Jay Inslee wants to spend to fight homelessness in his state. Actually, it’s not surprising at all.

What IS surprising is the small impact the MILLIONS of dollars will have in solving anything associated with the homeless industrial complex.

You can read the whole story about the governor’s plan here at MyNorthwest.com. I’m just pulling excerpts of the governor’s initiatives. Take a look at these numbers (which are in addition to Seattle and King County’s numbers):

Total amount the governor will include in 2020 supplemental budget: $146 million
Total cost over three years: $300 million
$66 million to “reduce the point-in-time count of unsheltered individuals by 1,890
$15.4 million to provide permanent supportive housing for 1,080 people

It’s been four years since former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a homeless emergency. And it’s been 14 years since King County developed their ten-year plan to end homelessness. During this whole time, the area has been run by progressives.

In Seattle/King County they currently spend ONE BILLION taxpayer dollars annually to “fight” homelessness.

Guess the plan is to never actually “end” homelessness but rather just “fight” it. Courtesy of taxpayers, of course.

DCG

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