Details: ‘Permanent housing’ for 75 homeless people proposed for Delridge site

June 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 63 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

An organization that runs eight housing complexes for mentally ill homeless people around the Seattle area, and is soon to break ground on a ninth, wants West Seattle to be home to its tenth.

After first word of the nonprofit Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposal for a 75-unit apartment complex near the Delridge Library emerged at last night’s North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting (WSB coverage here), we contacted DESC to seek details, ahead of its planned June 27th community meeting to outline the project.

Here’s what emerged in our conversation with DESC executive director Bill Hobson:

DESC has property “under contract” on the east side of the 5400 block of Delridge (photo above – the parcels are behind the trees and have several older housing units on them now), for a complex that would include 75 studio apartments, each to be inhabited by one person, with full kitchens/baths. Hobson describes the plan as being “in the very beginning stages.” No permit applications have been filed yet, though Hobson says they have spoken with city reps, and are having internal design meetings, while now beginning the process of talking with “relevant neighborhood stakeholders.”

The Delridge complex, he says, would be like their others (described here): Permanent housing for people “who are homeless – most have long periods of homelessness – that are living with mental-health problems. Our agenda is to provide them with housing, which eliminates the whole chaos that homelessness generally envisages in a person’s life and provides a platform for clinic and social stabilization.” And the housing may come before they “stabilize,” according to DESC’s philosophy (explained here).

DESC, he explains, is a licensed mental-health-treatment agency as well as a housing provider. “What we’re trying to do is help people achieve the highest level of self-sufficiency” that they can. That includes “supported employment programs.”

But it’s not fully independent living: “Our projects are intensively staffed … 24/7, [many are] professional clinical staff. We’re housing people with a lot of challenges in their lives.” Their average age, he says, is 49.

So with all their previous projects outside West Seattle, why here? “A combination of things. We have done a bit of research on Delridge. There is a lot of interesting movement to try to stabilize the neighborhood – we would like to be an active participant in that.” And, Hobson said, this site fits their propety criteria: “Affordable properties that don’t present any significant development challenges like environmental hazards, unstable soils; so far [geologic, etc.] reports have come back fairly nice.”

One question that came up at last night’s DNDC meeting, we mention, is how this would work, given that there isn’t a full complement of businesses/services nearby – particularly, no grocery store – but the DESC project is, as he put it, “basically trying to help people reacquire the basic skills required for daily living.”

He acknowledges that’s a bit of a challenge – “We want people to go out to grocery stores but we have developed properties in neighborhoods [without them]. We always have vans assigned to each of our housing projects and they will take people [to stores].”

Residents don’t have to shop for all their food, Hobson explains: “We will serve two meals a day … a catered meal will be brought once a day by FareStart, and the staff will prepare continental breakfast … As our projects mature and people begin to reacquire abilities, we’ll be encouraging people to rediscover how to prepare your own meals and live more independently. Sixty to seventy percent of residents are preparing their own meals within a year, so we do have to get them out to grocery stores.”

He says there are many hurdles for the project to clear before it can move ahead: First, they need financing, and he says DESC gets its money from governments: City, county, state. The Washington Housing Finance Commission has a “capital financing round” for which they expect word in December; then in January, they would apply for federal low-income-housing tax credits, and word on that wouldn’t come till July. “If all those are successful, we would form an LLC,” he says, and “in the most optimistic scenario, we could be under construction by the end of next summer, probably more like early fall of next year.” Construction would take 12-14 months, and that would mean the building being ready to occupy in late fall 2012/early winter 2013.

Hobson did not have details handy of the building’s proposed “massing” – including its height – but said he expected it to be within what current zoning allows. (That would be roughly four stories.) He did mention he’s been told of a potentially “significant” tree on the site, a deodar (Himalayan) cedar, that would have to be preserved: “That would yield an L-shaped building with a bit of green space,” and an arborist, he said, is on the case.

No working name for the complex yet, according to Hobson – “We’re simply calling it ‘the Delridge project’.” More than names, he said, they want to focus on “responsible management and responsibility to the neighborhood. We’ll be active members of neighborhood councils … engaging [the complex's] residents in block watches, graffiti paint-outs, and so on. One of the things we’re trying to teach our residents is, this is your home, and your home is in a neighborhood, and that’s important to the quality of your life.” No, that’s not language meant to “chill out opponents in a neighborhood,” he insisted – “we really believe [in it].”

DESC, which began as a downtown shelter provider in 1979, is hoping to answer any and all community questions at that upcoming meeting, all welcome – Monday, June 27, 6 pm, at Delridge Library. Wonder what the meeting might be like? Check out this Aurora Seattle report on a similar-intent meeting almost exactly one year ago, regarding the DESC project that’s about to break ground up there.

(And Pete Spalding of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council tells WSB the proposal will be a topic at the district council’s meeting tomorrow night, 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

63 Comments

  1. Yay FareStart, run by the well deserved/much acclaimed Ex Dir Megan Karch, also a West Seattle resident

    Comment by Diane — 1:41 pm June 14, 2011 #

  2. Yes, because with all the Seattle Housing Authority housing drug dealers on this stretch we need more problems.

    How about as a trade SHA gives up a couple of it’s properties in exchange for this?

    Comment by AN Udder — 1:47 pm June 14, 2011 #

  3. I am hoping that there can be a robust discussion and ultimately support for this project within the Delridge community. I would like to think that in West Seattle we are welcoming to this kind of housing, especially given the recent response to Nickelsville. DESC in my opinion runs a tight ship – when they say they are 24/7 with residents they really are – and they are 100% accountable to the communities they are in. (Tracy, an interesting article might be going back to Eastlake and Columbia City, where two of their most recent project are, to talk with folks about how the DESC buildings there are working out.) i look forward to the meeting on the 27th.

    Comment by kgdlg — 1:51 pm June 14, 2011 #

  4. Just what the area needs.

    Comment by wsjeep — 1:51 pm June 14, 2011 #

  5. Hope they don’t cut down those beautiful old growth trees!!!!

    Comment by bebecat — 2:01 pm June 14, 2011 #

  6. Delridge needs a full complement of food, transportation, etc., services before we can accommodate these residents and their support staff.

    Comment by sks — 2:18 pm June 14, 2011 #

  7. @sks
    Delridge has an express bus downtown and food and services are delivered to the residents within the building by on-site 24/7 staff.

    Comment by kgdlg — 2:29 pm June 14, 2011 #

  8. As a neighbor of this site (2 blocks away) I’m in full support. I’ve read about DESC, and it sounds like they do really good work. I hope the building will continue the street-scape begun by the DNDA buildings nearby: street-level storefronts would be nice for businesses that can take advantage of the increased foot traffic!

    Comment by Jake — 3:01 pm June 14, 2011 #

  9. Bebecat….that was my first thought too. I hope the trees stay! It’s sad how we simply cut them down for no reason.

    Comment by Cowpie — 3:10 pm June 14, 2011 #

  10. “Delridge has an express bus downtown”

    This is news to me. Wait 20 minutes in the morning for a bus which is supposed to come every ten only to deal with a standing room only bus.

    Comment by AN Udder — 3:16 pm June 14, 2011 #

  11. Delridge does not have an express bus. Why even say it does?

    Comment by whycause — 3:29 pm June 14, 2011 #

  12. Here go hell come

    Comment by Carrie P — 4:16 pm June 14, 2011 #

  13. Thanks Tracy for following up on this. This kind of information is key for us to make an informed decision. My favorite idea from last night’s NDNC meeting – tell them the neighborhood is in as long as they develop 5214, too!

    Comment by Kirsten — 4:22 pm June 14, 2011 #

  14. Careful what you wish for. Homeless camps and shanty towns don’t attract nice young stable families that revitalize neighborhoods.

    Comment by Mark — 5:52 pm June 14, 2011 #

  15. Those are not old growth trees, they are about 30 years old.

    Comment by Mike — 5:53 pm June 14, 2011 #

  16. I live in the Delridge neighborhood and I am all for it. A close friend is a manager at DESC, and I know a lot about how the organization works. I understand the fear about mental illness and a “not in my backyard” attitude about it, but DESC housing and programs are designed to protect the safety of everyone who lives in and around their projects. And I agree with AN Udder — it can’t be any worse than the bad seeds who take advantage of Seattle Housing Authority residences. I’ll take mentally challenged people trying to get back on their feet over ignorant, drug-dealing thugs any day.

    Comment by Susan — 6:13 pm June 14, 2011 #

  17. “I’ll take mentally challenged people trying to get back on their feet over ignorant, drug-dealing thugs any day”

    Those are our only two choices? I’d rather have yuppies.

    Comment by West Seattle — 8:55 pm June 14, 2011 #

  18. This would become the back yard of the home I grew up in. This would not be good for my family or the value of their home.

    Comment by Saddened — 9:26 pm June 14, 2011 #

  19. Downtown Emergency Service Center executive director Bill Hobson states: “……..We have done a bit of research on Delridge. There is a lot of interesting movement to try to stabilize the neighborhood – we would like to be an active participant in that.”

    -

    So the Downtown Emergency Service Center is going to help stabilize a neighborhood that is just beginning to get its legs back under it after decades of neglect by the City, the Seattle Housing Authority and property speculators/investors by adding a 75 unit housing complex for the most unstable of individuals? Individuals that in his words have serious, chronic and challenging issues? That statement by Director Hobson is one of the most outrageous things I have read in a long time. Director Hobson, you don’t help stabilize a neighborhood by adding yet more unstable people to its population base.

    -

    If approved and built, this project will take up a big chunk of this section of Delridge Way’s precious NC40 zoned land, thereby eliminating all possibility of using this land for commercial and economic development for job generation and a more active streetscape. Something that is an integral part of the Delridge Neighborhood Plan.

    Comment by Skeptical — 9:54 pm June 14, 2011 #

  20. I am sorry I used the word “express” when describing the 120. I should have said “frequent” rush hour service. I take the 120 fairly frequently and the fact that it goes over the viaduct (as opposed to through sodo) always makes me consider it more like an express bus. Sometimes I take it late at night and walk up to 35th because it is so much faster than the 21 late night.

    I usually ride to work these days and I pass scores of men and women living homeless under the viaduct. DESC is one of the only orgs that truly knows how to address this vexing issue. Homeless men and women are in our community already – on the street not getting the medicine and services they need. It is my opinion that this type of project will make our community and city safer by giving individuals a safe place to sleep at night where they can be accountable; take their meds and work on the issues that made them homeless to begin with.

    Comment by kgdlg — 10:07 pm June 14, 2011 #

  21. @ kgdig – It is as you state a very vexing issue. However, and in all seriousness, would you welcome this Downtown Emergency Service Center project next to your home, apartment or condo? Do you know well the history, issues and challenges of the neighborhood along Delridge Way that DESC wants to build its project?

    Comment by Skeptical — 10:17 pm June 14, 2011 #

  22. I must say I have mixed feelings over this. As someone who had a parent with a severe mental illness, I understand the need for such services. I also hate to be one of the NIMBY folk. However, I fail to see how having a unit such as this will “stabalize the neighborhood”.

    The proposed units will be three blocks from our house, and with the multitude of drug dealing people in the Seattle Housing Authority units across the street from us we already have to deal with, please tell me how this will improve the neighborhood?

    When we bought our place three years ago, we saw this neighborhood as a good up and coming area, that was affordable. All of our neighbors are young professionals, always a good addition to help make a neighborhood better.

    I hate the fact I will be out of town for work when this meeting happens and have asked my spouse to attend.

    I also would like to see impact statements from other neighborhoods with other DESC units.

    Oh yeah, and whoever says we have an express bus is a really great comedian.

    I look forward to finding out more information on this topic, I hope the meeting on the 27th isn’t the only one that happens.

    Comment by Semele — 10:17 pm June 14, 2011 #

  23. @skeptical
    I don’t live in delridge and would never claim to be a stakeholder there. But I know the nhood plan there pretty well and full disclosure, am an affordable housing developer, so I feel that I really understand the complexity of housing homeless people and families and know desc an an organization very well. I have followed their last several projects and from what I can tell, they are very accountable to the communities they are in.

    And to answer your question, absolutely yes, I would welcome this kind of housing on 35th one block from my house because I truly believe that it helps to solve homelessness. Let me be clear that I called the isssue of homelessness “vexing” not the homeless themselves “vexing”. Many in my immediate family suffer from significant mental health issues and as one of the main drivers of homelessness I believe that these projects make us all much safer, not more at risk. Because here residents are stablized and accountable and yes; contibute to the community.

    Comment by kgdlg — 10:26 pm June 14, 2011 #

  24. Another brick in the downfall of West Seattle…

    Comment by GRG — 11:14 pm June 14, 2011 #

  25. Once you understand severe mental illness, you realize that Delridge and all of West Seattle already have people with complex mental health needs living throughout the area, most without the supervision that a program like this provides. The DESC programs help residents become good neighbors, and they do contribute the re-vitalization of the community. The primary reason people oppose programs like this is a lack of knowledge about the capabilities that people who have severe mental illnesses have, which ultimately leads to the sort of discrimination and prejudice that our society abhors.

    Comment by Perry — 7:51 am June 15, 2011 #

  26. What a sad introduction, GRG. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m sure you have good qualities too.

    Comment by Yardvark — 8:49 am June 15, 2011 #

  27. Honestly, the best part of this is watching supposedly progressive and compassionate people howl and wail about their property values and bad elements in their precious ‘hood and all the big bad scary people that they are suddenly somehow surprised are sharing this major American city with their pampered selves. It’s hilarious.
    .
    And by hilarious, I mean ridiculous. But also still funny.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 9:06 am June 15, 2011 #

  28. Does anyone have any substantive complaints against DESC or any of their existing projects? Is “this will hurt property values” the best you can do?
    .
    Skeptical, you have some potentially good points about the Neighborhood Plan, but it seems that Delridge HAS been developing a more active streetscape lately.
    .
    What about the new library area?
    What about Youngstown and the Community Center?
    What about Orchard Street?
    .
    Sure, a classy little commercial center would have been better here, but apparently nobody stepped forward with plans for one of those, which is no surprise, since existing commercial centers are struggling right now. (Just look at Greenbridge.)
    .
    The DESC project will pump more money into the economy than an empty lot would, and I don’t think this will be all that out of character with the neighborhood.

    Comment by DP — 9:45 am June 15, 2011 #

  29. Have they considers Magnolia or Laurelhurst? I’m sure those neighborhoods would welcome this facility and they don’t even need to help stabilizing the surrounding community.

    Comment by ZS — 9:56 am June 15, 2011 #

  30. I live a block away from the proposed site and if they want to come to delridge then let em come!
    Maybe they will knock down some of the section 8 housing that has consistantly had dope dealers in it since i moved here in 94!
    Almost anything is better than whats in the area
    And you never know maybe there new money in the area will attract other new money to delridge

    Comment by Cbo — 10:28 am June 15, 2011 #

  31. Exactly Cbo, I would really like to see the city do something about high concentration of section eight housing. We can watch drug deals all day and night across the street from us. Gave up on calling the police long ago as they just do not care.

    Comment by AN Udder — 10:36 am June 15, 2011 #

  32. @zs
    There was a significant plan for housing for homeless families in magnolia at or near discovery park about three years ago. To my knowledge the neighborhood was not in favor of it and I do not know if it is movig forward. In my opinion there have been great efforts made over the last ten years to site these projects all over the city; not just downtown or in lower income areas. I will look for a map that shows this.

    Comment by kgdlg — 10:43 am June 15, 2011 #

  33. “This would not be good for my family or the value of their home.”
    .
    Homelessness probably wouldn’t be good for your family, either. Hopefully if it ever happens to you, someone will show you more compassion than you are showing.

    Comment by KBear — 10:48 am June 15, 2011 #

  34. ZS, It’s about real estate dollars, too. Yes, Magnolia or Laurelhurst could be considered but the price for the land would be a lot more than in Delridge and other parts of Seattle. I suspect DESC, as a fiscally-responsible non-profit organization, would rather put $$ into helping people than in paying for high-end real estate.

    Also, there is no evidence that DESC sites lower property values; Rainier House, in Columbia City, is a good example to look at. Go see it (the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce meets in an office there) and judge for yourself.

    Comment by Carolyn — 11:10 am June 15, 2011 #

  35. So, as I see it…the folks that get rejected from Nickelsville will simply walk up to this facility. Hmmmmm, lucky us.
    .
    Yes, there is a need to help the homeless. I do feel, however, that concentrating them in our less affluant community is not fair to our community. With the bulk of Section-8 residents, Mayor-approved Nickelsville encampment, and this proposed housing we’re well beyond our “share” of support.
    .
    As with Nickelsville, the promises made today will become a distant memory once this facility is in-place.
    .
    Urgh, there MUST be a better answer!

    Comment by proudpugetridger — 11:29 am June 15, 2011 #

  36. I agree with Skeptical. We Delridgians are just now beginning to stand on two legs. I hate to be NIMBY about this but I think for the first time in a long time Delridge residents are justified in feeling this way.

    and Kayleigh, do you live in Delridge? I would hardly call Delridge residents “pampered”. Do you own a home? Do you have kids? Do you live around something like the DESC?

    Comment by sks — 11:42 am June 15, 2011 #

  37. The next step for any intrepid journalist: finding out how DESC’s other 8 properties are working out, especially the ones located in residential neighborhoods.

    The Delridge corridor seems to be fighting an interesting battle: it’s one of the last bastions of low-cost residential land in Seattle, and as such there’s two types of housing here:

    - An attempt by developers to create affordable family/starter properties and by forward-thinking homeowners to fix up some of the ramshackle houses in the area.

    - Relatively high density of Section 8 and other housing for the “disadvantaged,” with the problems that go along with those properties.

    I see this as an incredible opportunity for the developers (DESC) to actually improve the neighborhood via their vigilance and active participation. BUT I’d like to know how active that participation is in other neighborhoods.

    Comment by Michael — 11:51 am June 15, 2011 #

  38. Can we all please refrain from demeaning Section 8 residents and voucher holders? Simply because someone receives rental support from this program doesn’t make them a criminal, a drug dealer, or a bad neighbor. Right now especially, there are many folks out there receiving this kind of support that have been out of work due to the recession and are just trying to stay afloat. Of course there will always be people (wealthy and poor) that engage in this behavior, but labeling all Section 8 residents like this is hurtful and stereotypical.

    Also, to the “concentration” issue. There are a couple of kinds of Section 8 – project based and tenant based. The vast majority are “tenant based” which means that people can take that voucher with them ANYWHERE. The City/SHA has no control over this choice, and that is a a key part of the program. So to claim that somehow Section 8 residents are being “dumped” or “concentrated” in Delridge is really not accurate. Yes, there are some buildings that have Section 8 contracts, but these are pretty spread out and also all over the City.

    Lastly, here is the map of Housing Levy funded projects in the City. As you can see, they are all over. I am presuming that DESC will use the Levy for this project, which is customary since it is a financial tool to solve homelessness.

    http://www.seattle.gov/housing/levy/docs/all_rental-HO_1981-present_map.pdf

    Comment by kgdlg — 1:55 pm June 15, 2011 #

  39. SKS, I don’t live in Delridge, I don’t have kids, and I do own a home. If DESC were to move into my neighborhood, I may or may not like it, but if I chose to actively oppose it, I would not kid myself about the narcissism, NIMBYism, and lack of compassion that drove me to that decision. Nor would I continue to call myself a progressive. At least most conservatives don’t pretend to have a heart but then duck and cover when the rubber hits the road. Oh wait, I guess they do. But hypocrisy okay if it’s in YOUR backyard, right?
    .
    We live in a major American city, and America is rapidly becoming a country with no single-payer health care, little affordable housing, almost NO mental health care, and very little in the way of social safety nets. As such, there will be people who cannot/will not live without assistance. If you choose not to support what few social safety nets exist, like this project, then what do you want to happen to the people who fall through the cracks of life?

    Comment by Kayleigh — 2:02 pm June 15, 2011 #

  40. @Kayleigh, right on.

    Comment by kgdlg — 2:42 pm June 15, 2011 #

  41. I do live right up the street from Nickelsville and while I have no objections whatsoever to its presence, absolutely I would not mind the addition of a DESC residential facility in my neighborhood. I’ve been familiar with their work for several years. They do good work getting people off the street and into stable lives with the support they need.
    .
    Regardless of your opinions of DESC, the homeless, or the mentally ill, it’d be really, really nice to not read comments equating them with drug dealers. I expect better of West Seattle.

    Comment by datamuse — 5:15 pm June 15, 2011 #

  42. @kgdlg – I don’t see people here saying all section 8 housing folks are criminals or drug dealers. However, at leat one of the units across the street from us absolutely is. No amount of calls to the police have done a thing. And the harrassment received by people loitering outside when I am just trying to walk our dog gets old as well.

    We live in this neighborhood and are voicing our concerns, we have every right to as we are the ones that have to deal with it on a daily basis.

    No disparagement meant, but from my stand point, SHA does a crappy job of monitoring who lives in their units.

    Which is why I said earlier, it would be nice to see some impact statements on how these types of projects are impacting the neighborhoods they currently reside in.

    Comment by Semele — 5:32 pm June 15, 2011 #

  43. @semele
    I hear you and your concerns. Have you called sha directly? I have experienced this same thing where I have lived. But I do believe it is the exception not the rule. I guess I want to stress that by having on site 24/7 staffing DESC is actually proposing something very very different here. So, for example, if you were to be harrassed outside of this development there would presumably be a front desk staffer or social worker that you could talk to directly. And I would hope from what I know of the org that if this persisted, there would be accountability direct to the director. Now I am just speculating so I agree that DESC should answer these kinds of questions and even sign a good neighbor agreement to there is a clear framework for the “what if” situations. My hope is that the wsb might have the resources to interview some former opponents of their projects in other neighborhoods to find out how they are operating now. I will say that my best friend lives a block from rainier house and has never experienced a problem and I work near evans house on first hill and they are great neighbors as well. I think when it comes down to it folks who are getting services and a roof over their head are much better community members.

    Comment by kgdlg — 7:01 pm June 15, 2011 #

  44. “I think when it comes down to it folks who are getting services and a roof over their head are much better community members.” kgdlg

    well said.

    Comment by JoB — 8:17 pm June 15, 2011 #

  45. WWVMD

    What would Vivian McClean do?

    Comment by kgdlg — 7:56 am June 16, 2011 #

  46. What about all the mentally ill people living around us who don’t have support networks? If they have enough money to own their own homes, suddenly their mental illness is okay? Better that there should be support services for people with problems than that everyone live in denial that such services are needed – or in denial that everyone needs to live somewhere. Unless you want to go all euthanasia of Undesirables, like the Nazis did.

    My father was schizophrenic, but more of a problem for himself than those outside the immediate family. I also have a friend (yes, an actual friend) with schizophrenia, who is one of the nicer people I know – very high functioning, recognizes she has a mental illness, gets treatment, just graduated from the university.

    As others have suggested, mental illness is not the same as drug dealing.I’d be okay with this project in my neighborhood. I’m not okay with gangs or violent drug-related crime.

    Comment by sarelly — 11:45 am June 16, 2011 #

  47. One thing of note – and something people may want to ask about at the June 27th meeting – DESC’s Bill Hobson told me they are aware that drug dealing is a neighborhood concern in that area, and he says it is something they actively work to suppress, unquote, as it is harmful for their residents too. Overnight, as I listened to the scanner, police responded to a call in that exact block – drug dealing that reportedly was followed by a small “rubbish fire.” The fire didn’t turn out to be a big deal, but while listening, we noted the address and recalled this story … TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:48 am June 16, 2011 #

  48. I’m not opposed to helping out the homeless, but everyone knows that it’s going to attract drugs, crime, and other problems. Doesn’t that part of West Seattle already have enough to problems? Why can’t they put it somewhere more affluent like Magnolia, or Queen Anne?

    Comment by Jim — 7:24 pm June 16, 2011 #

  49. Jim..
    why would residents of a supervised group facility necessarily attract drugs crime and other problems?

    Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and subsidized elder housing are a benefit to the communities they embrace.

    why should this necessarily be any different?

    Comment by JoB — 8:50 am June 17, 2011 #

  50. Magnolia has successfully blocked efforts for homeless housing for families by using their money and privilage to file lawsuits. I would sincerely hope that west seattle does not aspire to misuse this kind of power in the same way.

    Comment by kgdlg — 9:35 am June 17, 2011 #

  51. @kgdig – If this project were being placed in the heart of West Seattle, meaning the Alaska Junction, then there would be some merit to your statement above. But this is not in the heart of WS, it is in Delridge, a neighborhood that anyone with their eyes open and knows one bit about its history understands that it is anything but a power-base of economic or political power.

    -

    Last fall, when the Mayor’s office was looking for locations for a permanent homeless encampment, they had on their list of options the CIty Light owned parcel just one-half block away from the proposed Downtown Emergency Services Center facility. It is not a coincidence that this site was on the list versus another publicly owned space in WS. Other parts of WS wouldn’t stand for it and would fight it.

    Comment by Skeptical — 10:23 am June 17, 2011 #

  52. @ Skeptical-
    .
    Well said, clearly you “get it”. The Delridge corridor is always getting this type of treatment. It’s assumed that we will not protest because we lack funds and or organization skills to put up much resistance.
    .
    Sadly, when we question the logic of utilizing our neighborhood for this type of use we are quickly cast as “heartless” or “selfish”.
    .
    Bringing the issues of transportation, merchant impacts, drug control, safety, and property values to the discussion is apparently only allowed in affluent neighborhoods.
    .
    Some of us will actually end up sandwiched between the growing Nickelsville encampment and this 57-unit facility full of the chronically homeless. It is an understatement to say we’re paying above our share of “dues to society”!

    Comment by proudpugetridger — 12:59 pm June 17, 2011 #

  53. Thanks for the idea kgdlg.

    I will have to start hitting the pavement to get momentum to start filing lawsuits.

    Comment by Delridgian — 4:24 pm June 17, 2011 #

  54. To those who posted “I would happily live a block from this development”- would you still feel that way if they lived next door? How about across the 10ft wide unpaved alley? I doubt it.

    My wife and I decided we liked this neighborhood enough to spend our life savings rebuilding our garage after the fire last year. I REALLY hope I don’t regret that decision. I can only imagine how hard it will be to sell a crappy little house next to a homeless shelter for a decent price.

    One thing I’ve noticed no one else is talking about is the scale of the proposed structure: 3 lots wide and 4 stories tall. I would permanently be living in the shade! Delridge does not need this development, and certainly does not need a 75 unit gigantic wall of a building.

    I’ll see you all at the meeting.

    Comment by crash a-ron — 10:06 pm June 18, 2011 #

  55. DESC sounds like a wonderful agency that is truly committed to aiding homeless and mentally ill people. And, while I’m open-minded about this current proposal, located just a few blocks away from my home of just one year, I sincerely hope DESC is forthcoming with detailed descriptions not only of their plans to help my neighborhood, but of actual successes in aiding community improvement in the areas surrounding their other buildings.

    Comment by delridgenewbie — 4:52 pm June 20, 2011 #

  56. For a couple hours this past Saturday evening I walked around the outside of the Downtown Emergency Service Center’s Rainier/Hillman City project and several blocks surrounding it. Out of all the Downtown Emergency Service Center projects located around the city, the Rainier/Hillman City project seemed to be the closest comparable to the proposed Delridge site. I made a lot of observations about the Rainier/Hillman City Downtown Emergency Service Center’s project and how the neighborhood it is sited in is very, very different from the proposed North Delridge neighborhood site across the street from the Delridge Library.

    -

    Anyone attempting to draw direct or indirect connections between the two sites needs to tour each for a side-by-side comparison. If you are interested in doing so, you are able to be connected with me via the WSB.
    Thank you in advance TR:)

    Comment by Skeptical — 8:46 am June 21, 2011 #

  57. Interesting how so many people who live outside of Delridge feel entitled to tell us how to think and what we should accept in our neighborhood, as they sit in their remote location via internet telling us we cannot call ourselves progressives.
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    When we organize our many neighborhood and parks cleanups where are those of you who commented on this thread? At least if you are going to order us around and talk condescendingly to us, you could show up to a Delridge event or three and get your hands dirty.
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    I don’t hear people who live in Delridge telling you how to think, how to be, what to accept in YOUR neighborhood. Isn’t your we-know-better-than-those-poor-folk behavior the same sort that you claim to abhor as “progressives”?
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    I actually LIVE in Delridge and I have a mind of my own, thank you very much. Oh, but maybe you are not at your computer right now. Maybe you are en route to one of your MANY grocery stores in WALKING DISTANCE of your home in West Seattle. How nice for you. It must be so sweet to spout off online about us Delrigians lacking in progressive vigor as you drink your latte and eat your cupcake on your way home.
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    I would love to take a stroll and get myself some groceries, but there isn’t a single grocery store in walking distance and no bus that takes us Delridge folk to the Junction or to any nearby grocery store for that matter, as much as we’ve asked for both. (We also don’t have a pharmacy, a bank, a hospital, a doctor’s office, or really any basic amenities that people need to live.)
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    Seems like a grand idea to me to build some INFRASTRUCTURE in Delridge before adding 75 more extremely needy, no-income and carless people to the pile of those already here who have been asking for basic amenities and better bus services in Delridge for decades to no avail.
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    Also seems like a grand idea for those of you progressive-touting West Seattle residents to either GENUINELY get involved in Delridge or BUTT OUT.

    Comment by Connecting the Dots — 4:18 pm June 25, 2011 #

  58. Wow. So much fear and anger here. I live a few hundred feet from the proposed site and completely support it. I have lived on Delridge by the Shell Station and Super 24 for many years and have seen the neighborhood change for the better and believe this will be a very positive addition.
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    Maybe I’m a Pollyanna, but our family (including 2 young kids) has lived without a car for several years and are very happy with the bus system.
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    Maybe I’m a dreamer, but when it comes to infrastructure, I’m from Iowa and believe in the “if you build it, they will come,” theory on that issue. If we bring in more people and an organization like DESC that is committed to positive neighborhood involvement, we are more likely to attract things like a full-fledged grocery store and other businesses.
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    As the DESC website says: “The moral test of society is how we as a citizenry treat those who are most vulnerable among us.”
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    While I respect the opinions of those who are against it, I’m hoping they can rise above their fears and make the decision that I personally feel is the moral one as well as the choice that will actually strengthen our neighborhood for years to come.

    Comment by BBilly — 1:00 pm June 26, 2011 #

  59. The only anger I feel is for people outside of this community trying to tell us how to be–it’s disrespectful. I am glad that people who live in Delridge will be at the Monday night meeting.
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    I have to question whether BBilly actually lives in Delridge or is another non-neighbor commenting here. Talk to anyone in Delridge and they will laugh when you tell them that you think public transit is excellent here. Just heard from ANOTHER neighbor this evening about how you can only go north and south, no bus takes you to a grocery store and sure, you can get downtown, if there is a bus that isn’t already full.
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    BBilly: If they build what, who will come? Do you really in your wildest dreams think that 75 unemployed people helps in our efforts to bring a grocery store and other amenities to Delridge when the reason sited for not opening stores here is the lack of economic viability here? I think your build it and they will come may refer to something else, but not a grocery store.
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    BBilly, if you do live in Delridge, you know that this is a very compassionate neighborhood. But open your eyes, there is not enough support in this neighborhood to help the chronically homeless get on their feet, get absorbed into the community and lead healthy lives. There are more opportunities here for them to get taken advantage of than to buy an apple.
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    BBilly, I think you have a good heart, (unless you are a plant and you are not really from the neighborhood, and I really hope that’s not the case), but I think you are missing the entire point here. WE DON’T HAVE SERVICES TO SUPPORT OUR CURRENT COMMUNITY OF MOSTLY LOWER INCOME FAMILIES–I talking about BASIC NEEDS. We also do not have the modeling in this community that a chronically homeless person would need to thrive and learn how to live even semi-independently.
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    To make the assumption that a housing complex for 75 highly vulnerable and severely mentally ill– many of whom are active drug addicts–(see DESC website) will magically attract all the things the DNDA and so many neighbors and others have tried to bring here for 20 years is ludicrous. We have to work with what we have in forming our opinion about this, not dreaming about what we wish we had.
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    It sounds like DESC is a good organization. However, I do not see how Delridge can TRULY be a supportive environment for what DESC is seeking for their clients. Maybe later, but certainly not now. And this is not about NIMBY or fear or anger. This is about the reality of where Delridge is in it’s development as a community.

    Comment by Connecting the Dots — 8:14 pm June 26, 2011 #

  60. This isn’t right for North Delridge. There are already a bunch of good arguments why not.

    If the only argument in favor is because it’s a great social service, that fails. There is no background check for these people, there is no mandatory rehabilitation or active support requirement for these people to live in this housing.

    Hobson even said on the SeattleChannel.org that they like to help people stabilize by moving them into stablized neighborhoods. Delridge is far from stable, half of our ‘walkable’ streets don’t even have sidewalks. We have no walkable resources, and police presence has already declined in the wake of budget cuts.

    There are 2 day cares within eye shot of this place and a school. How many of those residents will be sexual predators, how many will use the existing drug dealer network in delridge to enable their habits.

    you have to understand that people with mental illness and drug addictions are not acting with a rational mind, they are acting under the influence of a disease.

    I oppose. Put it in a neighborhood with infrastructure to support them, with pharmacies, with walkable resources, with access to support programs.

    The 120 bus route is already overtaxed during peak hours, it drives right by me most days because it is full. Adding 75 more people that HAVE to rely on the bus is the opposite of what needs to happen.

    Comment by k2 — 11:21 am June 27, 2011 #

  61. k2, I hope you will be at the meeting tonight. We need people to speak up who understand the real issues at hand (not just people who want to use the NIMBY stigma to shut people up and make people feel guilty).
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    And hey, it actually sounds like you do live in the neighborhood since you’ve experienced our LACK of public transit first hand!

    Comment by Connecting the Dots — 1:11 pm June 27, 2011 #

  62. Connecting the Dots – I really do live a literal stone’s throw from the proposed development site. Had to put the kids to bed and by the time I got to the meeting there wasn’t enough room to stand in the doorway so I’ll just have to make my opinion known in other ways. You can reach me through the website above and my wife or myself would be happy to invite you over for coffee or tea sometime and you can look out our window and see how close we are to the proposed site.
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    I’m not saying the bus system here can’t be improved, but we are very happy with a bus coming every few minutes so close to our front door. For groceries and restaurants we go downtown (IGA/Kress) or head to White Center. Also Westwood Village for Target and QFC. In no way am I saying the life we live without a car is for everyone, but believe it or not, I truly feel blessed to have it so good.
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    I’m also not saying the proposed development alone will bring in a store. I’m saying that the addition of 75 units in two lots that are currently vacant and abandoned will move us in that direction, as will an organization that wants to be part of our community.
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    I understand you think I’m missing the point but I really do believe this is a great location for folks attempting to get back on their feet. We are minutes from Downtown and White Center by bus. Even closer to the library, Delridge Community Center and Neighborhood Service Center. From my perspective, there is also MUCH less drug dealing and violence than there used to be around here and I do think we have the modeling needed to help these folks thrive.
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    Consider the invitation for coffee or tea a sincere one. We could take turns trying to change one another’s minds on the issue or we could just be neighborly and avoid the topic altogether. Either way, one point we agree on is our hope that those who get heard on this issue are those of us who live closest and will be most impacted.

    Comment by bbilly — 8:20 pm June 27, 2011 #

  63. In regards to being critical of the Section 8 and low-income housing issue, I have a hard supporting these programs. If giving hand-outs “worked” for these specific groups of beneficiaries, wouldn’t these areas be more cared for? Wouldn’t they be grateful and use it to improve their lives? I think we have a lot of proof in our society that giving someone a hand out is generally just enabling. In regards to the new facility, I can’t say I think it is going to be good for the neighborhood, but better than Section 8.
    And yes, a grocery store here would be the tops.

    Comment by Also skeptical — 9:33 pm June 27, 2011 #

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