Seattle’s homeless crisis is exacerbated by the fact that the local area politicians and government officials believe that enabling an addiction is part of the solution.
Taxpayers are coughing up MILLIONS of dollars to provide assistance to those in need. Yet many of the homeless don’t want help any help.
The inhabitant of the “tent mansion” near Seattle Center has refused help from the city, choosing instead to live on the street, than follow the rules of a shelter. She said, “We don’t want to change our lifestyle to fit their requirements. We intend to stay here. This is the solution to the homeless problem. We want autonomy, right here.”
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office recently offered to help the homeless at an encampment. They brought in agencies to offer services and help with drug addiction. Out of the 50 campers there only one accepted the assistance.
King County already offers medical mobile units.
Yet Seattle, which recently approved a business “head tax” to solve their homeless crisis, is going ahead with their medical mobile unit. Guess they have to spend their recently-acquired taxpayer dollars somewhere.
From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle council members are looking to get around the dilemma of where to place a safe injection site by making it mobile. The city is now exploring what Human Services Department spokesperson Meg Olberding describes as a “large mobile medical van.”
The van would be akin to the medical RVs the county and city currently use to serve homeless residents. KIRO 7 reports that they will be much larger, however. The option is referred to as “fixed-mobile.” A medical van would park at a fixed location, but return to a secure location every night.
“It is an option where we would actually lease or go into an agreement regarding a fixed site, and then with that, we would have a mobile van,” said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health Seattle-King County. “… this is potentially a very large vehicle that we would then house the consumption activity in.”
The mobile van would offer consumption booths and recovery space. According to Q13, the safe injection van would cost about $350,000; along with $1.8 million to get the van set up, and $2.5 million to operate it. Seattle has already set aside some money for a safe injection program and the van could be paid for from those funds.
“Obviously, there will continue to be concerns about the neighborhood, security of the neighborhood, about other activities happening in the neighborhood, so we would want to make sure we provide a safe area, not only for the neighbors but for the individuals who are using as well,” Duchin told the council.
The mobile option faces a similar issue that a fixed site does — where to park it. One thing is clear, the council doesn’t want to wait much longer. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said that she favors purchasing a van. The city would then conduct community outreach for potential locations.
“Every day we don’t move forward, people are at risk for overdose and death, so with that in mind and with this sense of urgency for the third time this year alone that you have heard us express this, I am calling on our mayor and our county as a whole to act with urgency so we can move forward this year,” Mosqueda said. “We have the resources in hand; we have the support from the broad public, and we have data-driven solutions.”
(I have researched the validity of safe injection sites and there is a very mixed reaction as to whether or not they work. One can easily choose the data that supporst their opinion.)
“This is a data-driven, public health harm reduction model that is proven to be effective at saving lives and getting people into treatment,” she said.
The city will spend the next two months considering potential locations to park the van (so much for that “sense of urgency”). Officials favor a private lot, and note that most drug activity happens around SoDo, downtown, and the west side of Capital Hill, according to KIRO 7. The city did consider buying property specifically for the van, but found that it was “cost restrictive” inside Seattle.
Read the whole story here.
Enslaving drug users only perpetuates the cycle. And it keeps the taxpayer money flowing to develop more “solutions.”
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