Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wanted: A Place to Sleep

Posted yesterday at 6:12 pm by Aimee Curl

Time is running out for the residents of SHARE Safe Haven. After three years of living in the federal INS building in SoDo (above), they were kicked out last month— an unfortunate consequence of the sprawling 77,000-square-foot space being purchased by a group of Seattle developers and investors last spring. Safe Haven's 30 homeless men and women were able to find temporary space at St. James Cathedral on First Hill, but their arrangement for sleeping there ends Aug. 25th. Unless somebody steps up, they'll be on the street in less than a month.
The shelter is a nighttime, emergency-only operation that's been able to find space in and around Pioneer Square for 14 years. The group is self-managed. Walk-ins are not admitted. Occupants are screened at a separate location and organizers ensure that they arrive no earlier than 7 p.m. and disperse before 8 a.m. each day. Sobriety is required. No daytime loitering is allowed.

Safe Haven residents have spent months writing letters to everyone from city, county and port officials, to property owners like Qwest Field and Harborview Medical Center. Either they've received no response, or they've simply been told "No."
"Unfortunately, I must tell you that there is no county property that can meet your needs at this time," King County Executive Ron Sims said in a letter dated July 7. And Alan Painter, interim director of Seattle's Human Services Department, encouraged Safe Haven residents to keep their search "as broad as possible, including alternatives outside City property and in other neighborhoods," before reminding them that "annually the City of Seattle spends more than $40 million to fight homelessness"— and that the mayor's Ten-Year Plan to end Homelessness is making progress.


The people who depend on Safe Haven aren't giving up hope yet. Though it may take 30 more people sleeping under the interstate— and not carefully crafted letters— to get this town's attention.

Thank you Aimee, for helping get the word out about yet another crisis. If there was a fire and thirty middle class people were displaced, the whole community would respond with resources. But this "disaster" caused by short sighted public officials, greed, and lethargy, is generating a collective yawn so far. "Just more homeless people displaced, oh well."
Why can't the government entity selling this property require that accomodations for 30 homeless people be worked into the development plan?



Blogger iamkatia said...

30 more people sleeping under a bridge would never be noticed.
it would take more like 3,000.
in a condensed area.

all of this sucks, yes.

i was somewhat hearkened to hear from one of the street kids recently that the DOT was telling the kids that they would call of the sweeps in their area if they would just try to keep it clean.
of course, it's doubtful the kids will but at least they were given that option.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Pastor Rick said...

katia, I could supply garbage bags - get them free for community clean ups from the neighbhorhood center at 23 & Jackson.

3:22 PM  
Blogger iamkatia said...

that would be an interesting experiment actually.
bringing garbage bags to the different kid's squats and seeing if they are actually used by anyone.
i only know of one youth out of 150 who keeps his squat meticulous. i think he might have OCD. wouldn't that be a riot if the only clean kid was considered 'mentally ill'? (laughing) what a crazy preposterous world we live in. :)

11:02 AM  

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