I’ve written about the major homelessness problem that Seattle, and its homosexual mayor Ed Murray, have tried to address. The good mayor has tried to address this by:
- Creating more tent cities;
- Hiring a Homelessness Director with a pay rate of over $100,000; and
- Hiring six additional staff members that, at the high end of estimated annual pay, cost $537,908.17 in new salaries.
Their latest solution to help homeless people change their circumstances? Open a $2.7 million dollar facility where one is permitted to use alcohol and drugs. I wouldn’t bet that inviting these abuses will be a successful path for homeless people.
From Seattle Times: After a siting controversy and months of delay, Seattle’s first enhanced 24-hour shelter for homeless people will open to clients Wednesday.
Inside the newly refurbished facility in the Little Saigon neighborhood are sleeping cots with blue cushions that couples can push together, offices where clients will receive supportive services, and a mess hall for meals.
Staffers at the Navigation Center will spend the next days making last-minute preparations for the opening, said Greg Jensen, a spokesman for the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), which the city has contracted to operate the facility.
About 20 homeless people already have been referred to the center by city outreach workers, Jensen said. “We anticipate that we’ll be seeing clients almost immediately,” he said.
Mayor Ed Murray put the process to develop the center in motion via a June 2016 executive order, saying that creating a shelter with services beyond those offered at traditional facilities was key to the city’s strategy.
But its development was rough going. A plan to open the center by the end of 2016 was scuttled when the city was unable to find a suitable site.
In February, city officials reached an agreement with the Seattle Indian Commission to lease the Pearl Warren building. The move displaced Operation Nightwatch, a mats-on-the-floor-style emergency shelter for homeless men that was leasing space in the building, and stirred up protest among residents of the surrounding community.
Advocates with neighborhood group Friends of Little Saigon continue to push back against the city, saying that the decision to site the center on the edge of the city’s Chinatown International District was reached without hearing views from local residents.
“There are many in the community who still don’t want it, but we know it’s going to open anyway,” said Quynh Pham, spokeswoman for Friends of Little Saigon. “At this point, we just want to have the city address concerns about this model and how the center will be run.”
City officials are betting that the center, with restrictions on entry eased and intensive services available, will become an asset for moving people indoors and out of conditions that are unsanitary and sometimes unsafe. People living in unauthorized tent encampments will initially be given top priority, officials said.
”It will allow us to reach those who are in the community of homeless people who have not been getting robust services,” said DESC director Dan Malone.
Modeled after a similar shelter in San Francisco’s Mission District, the center features laundry and storage facilities, showers and enough dormitory space to provide beds to about 75 people.
Unlike more restrictive shelters, clients will be able to store their belongings, bring along their pets and partners, and come and go when they like. While discouraged, drug and alcohol use inside the facility will be allowed unless it disturbs other clients or the surrounding community.
Once there, people who might have been unwilling or unable to take advantage of other shelter options will be pointed toward mental-health, addiction and housing services based on their needs, officials said.
How successful the center might be in moving people into permanent housing remains an open question. Similar shelters in San Francisco, which is experiencing its own crisis over affordable housing and visible homelessness, may serve as a rough guide.
Read the rest of the article here.