If you’ve read any of my posts about the homeless crisis in Seattle, you know that the number of homeless is on the rise, drug use is openly permitted by the homeless, and crime and prostitution is on the rise. See the following:
- Seattle woman out for a run attacked by homeless man, wants city to “do something productive”
- Rape, strangulation and assault: Three attacks by homeless people in Seattle in less than a month
- Scared in Seattle: Citizens terrorized by the homeless & sidewalks turned into toilets
- Seattle, you have a problem: Council, police & animal control ignore woman’s pleas for help; 3 dogs from illegal RV encampment maul her & her dog
- Seattle Police refused to remove homeless from construction site before they caused $1.3 million fire damage
- Seattle to shut down tiny homeless village, opened in 2017, after crime skyrockets 100%
- Tough on crime: Seattle tells business owner to clean up trash left by homeless or receive a fine
- Getting tough on crime: Seattle threatens property owners who post signs to deter homeless RV parking
In February 2017, the city of Seattle launched the “Navigation Team,” which is comprised of specially-trained outreach workers paired with Seattle Police Department (SPD) personnel, to connect unsheltered people to housing and critical resources. They work with homeless people to help them get access to urgent and acute treatment services.
In May of this year, the city boasted of an increase in the number of homeless people they successfully moved into permanent housing or shelters. Yet prevention programs saw a decrease in exits to permanent housing.
Keep in mind that, according to MyNorthwest.com, Seattle is planning to spend $71 million toward homelessness in 2018. That money will go toward 155 contracts across 39 agencies to provide services to people experiencing homelessness.
So I wonder why the city is now planning to decrease the budget of their Navigation Team and increase the pay to contracted human services workers?
The Seattle Times reports that on Wednesday, the Seattle Clown Council voted to reduce the expansion of the Navigation Team and redirect the “savings” to a pay raise for homeless service workers.
From their report:
“The Seattle City Council moved Wednesday to reduce a proposed expansion of the city’s team responsible for overseeing removal of homeless encampments, redirecting the money to wage increases for homeless service workers.
The 6-3 vote was a preliminary action, with the final budget set for adoption Monday. But the proposal, sponsored by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, sparked debate among council members and protests from business and neighborhood groups who want a more vigorous response to the city’s estimated 400 unsanctioned tent camps.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had proposed expanding the Navigation Team, which includes outreach workers and police, by nine positions in her budgets for 2019 and 2020. City council staff said at least some of the positions already had been hired, using $500,000 allocated by King County over the summer to allow the team to expand to 30.
Mosqueda said her proposal would reduce that expansion to six next year, and seven in 2020, and would use the $724,000 in savings to give wage increases of two percent to more city-contracted human-services workers at nonprofit agencies than Durkan’s budget proposed.
Mosqueda’s proposal had begun leaking out earlier in the day, prompting push back. Mike Stewart, CEO of the Ballard Alliance, wrote in an email to the council before the vote that his neighborhood has had to “wait weeks and months for Navigation Team service.”
“If anything, the City should be allocating more funding to the Navigation Team to allow for additional capacity, faster response times and deeper reach into all of the affected neighborhoods across the City,” he wrote.
Mosqueda called the Navigation Team “critical” to the city’s homeless response, but she emphasized that the workers at nonprofits needed to be paid “a fair wage.” Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez, who joined Lisa Herbold, Kshama Sawant, Rob Johnson and Mike O’Brien in favor of the proposal on a final vote, objected to “misinformation floating out there. This city council is not interested in eliminating the Nav Team.”
Sawant, however, proposed to eliminate all Navigation Team spending and use the money instead for affordable housing. It was rejected in an 8-1 vote.
Sawant objected to “the supposed but mythical values of the Navigation Team that does nothing but sweep homeless people … We haven’t met a single homeless person who thinks homeless sweeps work.”
Read the whole story here.
I guess someone (i.e., taxpayers) has to keep that Homeless Industrial Complex alive and well.
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