Delridge DESC project: City funding $ announced; Design Review date finalized; housing director answers ‘Concerned Neighbor’

November 10, 2011 at 12:32 am | In Delridge, DESC Delridge project, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 51 Comments

New developments in the ongoing debate/discussion of the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) proposal to build a 75-apartment building in Delridge to house homeless people living with mental illness:

9:49 AM UPDATE: City funding for the Delridge Supportive Housing project (reported here two weeks ago) was officially announced at a media event in North Seattle less than an hour ago. DESC executive director Bill Hobson (at right in the Seattle Channel screengrab above) was among those who joined Seattle Office of Housing director Rick Hooper at the event. The news release (read it here) describes the amount as $4.5 millon, a bit above the “up to $4.45 million” confirmed to WSB last month.

10:30 AM UPDATE: Also this morning, something else we had previously reported is now “official” – the December 8th Design Review meeting (here’s the notice just published in the Land Use Information Bulletin).

ORIGINAL REPORT (12:32 AM): Hooper has replied to 4 questions sent by “A Concerned Delridge Neighbor,” which “Concerned” had posted on her/his website here. Read on for the questions/answers as received from Hooper today (we were among those CC’d):

“Q” is what “Concerned” wrote. “A” is how Hooper replied.

Q: Can you provide further demographic information to disprove the apparent concentration of extreme poverty in this one area of Delridge?

A: When the Office of Housing evaluates proposed housing sites, we examine the concentration of subsidized housing for extremely low-income people, rather than the demographic information for all the residents in the area. This evaluation is required by the Council-adopted siting policy in the City’s Consolidated Plan, which has been in place since the early 1990s. The intent of the policy is to ensure that subsidized rental housing for extremely low-income people is not over-concentrated in areas outside of Downtown. It requires that we consider the number of subsidized units serving extremely low-income households (defined as earning less than 30% area median income, or $18,250 for a single person in 2011) and the total number of housing units in the Census block group. The policy limits the number of subsidized housing units serving extremely low-income households to no more than 20% of the total number of housing units in a Census block group, unless the proposed housing is eligible for a waiver under certain defined circumstances. The OH Director may grant a waiver of the siting policy if one or more of the following criteria are met:

· The proposed project is a neighborhood‐supported project. To be considered a neighborhood‐supported project, OH must determine that the proposed project is supported by a reasonable number of immediate neighbors and/or affected neighborhood organizations. Such determination will be based on review of results of the community notification process as described in the Neighborhood Notification and Community Relations Policy section (see below) including notification of immediate neighbors, consultation with established community groups, public meetings, and/or other means of community notification as OH deems appropriate. In accordance with national, state and local fair housing laws, OH disregards, in evaluating neighborhood support for the project, any opposition that appears to be based on characteristics of future residents of a project if discrimination based on such characteristics is prohibited.

· Additional market‐rate housing development is planned in the Census block group, and OH determines that the proposed project would not result in more than 20% of total housing units in the block group being subsidized rental housing for extremely low‐income households, based on an adjusted estimate of total housing units that includes units for which building permits have been issued (based on the Department of Planning & Development’s latest annual report of building permit data) or other such documentation as deemed appropriate by OH.

· OH determines that natural or manmade barriers (e.g. a bluff, waterway, or freeway) physically separate the proposed project from existing concentrations of subsidized rental housing for extremely low‐income households.

The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing prepared for the City of Seattle, which is available on OH’s Consolidated Plan webpage, includes a thorough overview of federal, state and local fair housing law. OH’s Siting Policy is a tool for addressing barriers to fair housing. One goal is to ensure that housing for Seattle’s lowest‐income and most vulnerable populations is available throughout the City.

Consistent with local, State and Federal law, housing may not be excluded from a neighborhood based on any of the following characteristics of the persons who will live there: age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, gender identity, marital status, military status or veteran, national origin, parental status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, possession or use of a Section 8 voucher, or use of a service animal.
==========================

Q: Why have you provided “up to $4.45 million” for this project, when only $1.3 million was requested?

A: The Office of Housing reviews project proposals in conjunction with other public funders of affordable housing to make collective decisions that maximize the quantity and quality of affordable housing development in our community. Actual funding awards may depart from what applicants propose, depending on the availability of other sources of funds for any given project. It is not unusual for the City to provide more or less than what an applicant requests once all funding sources have been determined.

In the case of the DESC Delridge application, the non-City sources of financing were ultimately lower than the application estimated, leaving a larger funding gap. The City chose to fill this gap because this project fulfills City goals of providing affordable housing with supportive services for homeless and special needs individuals.

All City awards are “up to” amounts that maybe reduced if other sources of financing are higher than projected, or if project costs are lower than projected.

============================

Q: How common is it to waive the requirements of the siting policy? Has it been done before, and if so, how many times? Has it been done for other DESC projects?

A: OH has granted waivers in the past, but none for DESC projects. Waivers granted since 2003 (project, agency, year) include:

Holden Street Campus Extension, Common Ground, 2003
Rainier Family Court, SEED, 2003
West Seattle Community Resource Center, DNDA, 2004 (editor’s note: this is at 35th/Morgan)
Alder Crest, Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), 2004
Rainier Vista Phase II, SHA, 2009
Lake City Village, SHA, 2009
Rainier Vista Phase II North, SHA, 2009
Yesler Neighborhood, SHA, 2010
Sand Point, Solid Ground, 2010

==========================

Q: It appears that the Office of Housing has also approved a bridge loan of $769,000 for purchase of the site by December 1, 2011. Can the Office of Housing provide a copy of the bridge loan documents that are currently being prepared?

A: At the time of your request, the process for drafting the loan documents had not yet begun, so no records existed. That process has now started and we anticipate the documents will be completed by no later than the last week of November. We will be happy to provide those records in their entirety, except any information that may be exempt from disclosure, once they are finalized.

51 Comments

  1. WSB – Are you able to provide location of 9am media event? Nothing listed on McGinn’s calendar/website.

    Comment by Been There — 5:54 am November 10, 2011 #

  2. West Seattle Community Resource Center, DNDA, 2004 (editor’s note: this is at 35th/Morgan)

    Note that this project is where the West Seattle Food Bank is located and was part of the Three Projects/One Community campaign

    Comment by Pete — 7:03 am November 10, 2011 #

  3. http://www.fremontuniverse.com/2011/11/01/aurora-thunderbird-fremont-motel-catholic-community-services/

    Comment by WSB — 7:43 am November 10, 2011 #

  4. I see here that Rick Hooper is laying the ground work for ignoring/excluding any and all Delridge Neighborhood concerns that make mention of the intended future residents on the basis that they are a “disabled” group, protected by local, state, and federal law. On these grounds, Hooper might even make the rediculous claim that this is actually a “neighborhood-supported” project since he’s disregarded all objections on this basis – thereby qualifying the project for a waiver on these grounds. This DESC project is intended for mentally ill and/OR SUBSTANCE ABUSERS according to DESC’s literature and announcements. A critical distinction here is that substance abuse is an illegal activity, not a disability. This subject alone is the topic of volumes of discussion/debate, but substance abuse remains against the law, and is therefore not a “disability” qualifying for nondescrimination protection status as suggested by Hooper. They can push this project through using 10 different loopholes, but this is absolutely NOT a “neighborhood-supported” project. Let’s all make sure that Hooper and other elected and appointed officials understand that.

    Comment by RL — 8:07 am November 10, 2011 #

  5. P.S. I couldn’t go, making it across town at this hour requires leaving at least an hour early and that was impossible. But the Seattle Channel has just sent the embed code for the livecast (broadcast online only, as are most of the mayor’s media events) so I am adding it atop this story – anybody interested in watching can, and I will monitor it too. That means there’ll be archived video later as well. IF it turns out NOT to involve DESC or anything else of West Seattle note, we’ll remove it later … TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:45 am November 10, 2011 #

  6. @RL, I have a question and I’m not being a smarta$$…it’s a real question. Isn’t alcoholism categorized as substance abuse? And I would imagine that it would make up a large percentage of the substance abusers mentioned in the DESC literature and announcements. I just want to be sure we are clear that everyone who is a “substance abuser” isn’t a crack or meth addict.

    Comment by Always confused — 9:15 am November 10, 2011 #

  7. RL, I’m a neighbor with young children in the immediate area of the proposed project. I have been talking with neighbors — LOTS of neighbors — including other families with young children. Please know that the entire community is not united in opposition to the project. In fact, I have personally spoken to 7 different families who have told me that they are ardently in support of the project, but they are fearful of speaking up because “comments on the WSB have been so hateful and nasty that they are frightened to make comments in public.” With the strong comments a handful of folks are making, they are shutting down the democratic process, which I think is really sad.
    Have you personally toured one of DESC’s facilities yet? I have, and I can tell you it was not a frightening experience. I would be comfortable waiting for the bus outside a DESC facility, even with my young children in tow. I’m not scared that the DESC resident human beings are going to commit public nuisances.
    DESC staff including Bill Hobson have committed that no drug activity will be permitted in the building. The human beings who are proposed to be living in the building are more likely to be broken down chronic alcoholics. they’re not going to be cooking meth in their kitchens – they are too frail to cook a can of soup, let alone meth.

    So, RL, speak for yourself. Not for the community.

    Comment by I'm Just sayin' — 9:34 am November 10, 2011 #

  8. According to http://www.ada.gov, Alcoholism is recognized as a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act. This means an employer cannot discriminate against an applicant because they have alcoholism, but can require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol while at work.

    Abuse of illegal drugs or substances is NOT a recognized disability under ADA.

    Comment by DelridgeNeighbor — 9:42 am November 10, 2011 #

  9. I’m glad you asked. Yes, alcohol abuse definitely is substance abuse, and also not a “disability” qualifying for discrimination protection. Hooper’s note states that “In accordance with national, state and local fair housing laws, OH disregards, in evaluating neighborhood support for the project, any opposition that appears to be based on characteristics of future residents of a project if discrimination based on such characteristics is prohibited.” Discrimination of alcohol abusers is not prohibited. I am not entirely unsimpathetic to alcohol and substance abusers. There are several in my own family that don’t seem to be able to help themselves. However, it is a reasonable community objection that the DESC project is intended to house substance abusers (including alcohol abusers) next door with our tax dollars and I would hope that such objections are not ignored under the premise of nondiscrimination protections.

    Comment by RL — 9:43 am November 10, 2011 #

  10. to “I’m Just Sayin’” your claim to have “personally spoken to 7 families” who are all happy with DESC, but are “afraid” to post their support in this anonymous blog is entirely UNBELIEVABLE! what exactly are they afraid of, that someone may disagree? Perhaps it is YOU who should speak just for yourself, and not the entire community! Tell them to WRITE here if they truly believe in this project!

    Comment by DelridgeNeighbor — 10:07 am November 10, 2011 #

  11. To “DelridgeNeighbor” – I stand corrected. The Americans With Disabilities Act does indeed recognize alcoholism as a disability. Can’t say that I agree, but we don’t need to get into that debate as this isn’t likely to be amended anytime soon. As you mention, illegal substance abusers are not “disabled” and objections to the project on those grounds are certainly legitimate.

    To “I’m Just Sayin’” – I don’t claim to speak for everyone in the community, but I do think that I speak for more of the community than you do.

    Comment by RL — 10:27 am November 10, 2011 #

  12. Another note – just an “official” announcement of something we have already reported on WSB, but for the record (and I will add it to the story above, too):
    The Design Review Meeting notice is officially out for the December 8th first review of this project.
    http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/luib/Notice.aspx?BID=666&NID=12924
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:29 am November 10, 2011 #

  13. Hey neighbors,
    Please let’s not allow a few confusing claims get out in front of the facts.
    -
    Delridge Nieghbor thoughtfully posted the ADA link (http://www.ada.gov).
    But for those of you who won’t go there, I’ve cut and pasted the heart of the drugs, illegal drugs and alcohol sections.
    -

    FROM ADA,
    ” Sec. 12114. Illegal use of drugs and alcohol

    (a) Qualified individual with a disability

    For purposes of this subchapter, qualified individual with a disability shall not include any employee or applicant who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs, when the covered entity acts on the basis of such use.

    (b) Rules of construction

    Nothing in subsection (a) of this section shall be construed to exclude as a qualified individual with a disability an individual who

    (1) has successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs, or has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully and is no longer engaging in such use;

    (2) is participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in such use; or

    (3) is erroneously regarded as engaging in such use, but is not engaging in such use;

    except that it shall not be a violation of this chapter for a covered entity to adopt or administer reasonable policies or procedures, including but not limited to drug testing, designed to ensure that an individual described in paragraph (1) or (2) is no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs.”
    -
    I can only imagine that this will continue to generate differences in our interpretations.
    I will start that by addressing Delridge Neighbors,
    “Abuse of illegal drugs or substances is NOT a recognized disability under ADA.”
    -
    If Delridge Neighbor had written, “Current, active abuse of illegal drugs or substances is NOT a recognized disability under ADA,” I would agree.
    -
    On the other side is,”Past use or a history of abuse of illegal drugs or substances IS a recognized disability under ADA.”

    Comment by John — 10:31 am November 10, 2011 #

  14. Interesting to read Rick Hooper’s rationale for placing this supportive housing in Delridge. The reason Rick Hooper agreed to this type of housing in Ballard was that for every 1500 units of housing within a certain block radius a facility to house the chronically homeless could be built and that the area needs to be serviced by good transportation. Looks to me like the city can use whatever excuse they want to place a facility such as this in a residential neighborhood.

    Comment by Norge — 10:32 am November 10, 2011 #

  15. I neglected to thank ‘I’m Just sayin’ for approaching this with an open mind, performing her due diligence by visiting a DESC facility, and actually going out to talk with her neighbors.
    -
    I also wish to thank her for making such a reasoned, compassionate and so far original remarks.
    -
    “I’m just sayin’” joins Galena White as on of the real heroes for me in this dispute. Thank you both.

    Comment by John — 10:41 am November 10, 2011 #

  16. At the very least it would be nice if this resulted in a reduction the amount of section 8 and SHA in Delridge in addition to better bus service (sorry, the 120 is uselessly full by the time it gets to us)

    Comment by Delridgian — 10:52 am November 10, 2011 #

  17. John,

    Good to know you can thank and see the logic from people who do not disagree with you.

    Comment by My eye — 11:18 am November 10, 2011 #

  18. The “silent majority” arguments aren’t persuasive and are often created from thin air in the blogosphere. I’m not saying this one is, necessarily, but people throw that stuff around a lot on blogs as they try to silence debate by accusing others of being too nasty.

    Sorry, but I haven’t seen a single comment I’d describe as “hateful” and “nasty.” And so what if I had? What stops anyone from calling someone out for it and telling them to cut it out or stick to the issues? If you’re deterred from engagement in debate because someone else makes a nasty blog comment, I think you need to grow thicker skin.

    Controversial? Disagreeable? Hyperbolic? Sure! Not everyone thinks alike, and thank God for that. Hateful? Nasty? Come on folks. Do you respect dissenting opinions or don’t you? If you do, you’d better tolerate and embrace the rights of those you don’t agree with, because the shoe is certain to be on the other foot soon.

    If people are too meek and timid to speak up on their own behalf, they do so at their peril. Passionless debate is not particularly effective either, because without human emotion, its hard to appreciate and recognize how people really feel, or to empathize with them.

    Comment by pjmanley — 11:20 am November 10, 2011 #

  19. An earlier post this morning states that “DESC staff including Bill Hobson have committed that no drug activity will be permitted in the building” and yet I distinctly remember Bill saying at the initial meeting that they would not monitor the use of alcohol and drugs in the privacy of the renter’s homes. Has this changed?
    I have no issue with people with mental illness living in my neighborhood but do take issue with a facility that does nothing to keep folks from using illicit drugs in a facility that I am paying for with my tax dollars.

    Comment by concernedinws — 11:41 am November 10, 2011 #

  20. pjmanley, after reading what you wrote I am not sure what “silent majority” argument you are making.
    -
    Could I mistakenly be assuming it is a not so veiled reference to “I’m just sayin’?”
    -
    If it is, your comments are incorrect and off base as proven by,
    “Please know that the entire community is not united in opposition to the project. In fact, I have personally spoken to 7 different families who have told me that they are ardently in support of the project, but they are fearful of speaking up because “comments on the WSB have been so hateful and nasty that they are frightened to make comments in public.”
    -
    I’m Just sayin’ only says there are some supporters and acknowledges detractors.
    Compare this to the many detractors who DO make the “silent majority” claims. I can cite them.
    -
    If you, “haven’t seen a single comment I’d describe as “hateful” and “nasty.”,” I would ask your take on these:
    -
    sks,”We are all entitled to our opinions and to make our views public without judgment.”“Either you have a ton of extra time on your hands with very little to nothing at stake in this conversation, enabling you to safely throw darts at my neighbors from behind your mask or,
    -
    and this is of greater concern to me, YOU HAVE A LARGE VESTED INTEREST in this project that you are not disclosing.
    -
    Your lack of knowledge about our neighborhood, disregard for those living here and your lack of research on the issues surrounding this project do beg the question of your affiliation with DESC.
    -
    It would be most respectable if you were to disclose any affiliation whatsoever that you have with this project before pursuing your “games” with our community. Thanks.
    Comment by Karrie Kohlhaas — November 5″
    -
    ” Initially, I wrote it off as hubris. Upon further consideration, I entertained the idea that you may actually hold a position of decision-making capacity in this discussion, and thus your invitation is sincere.” McBride
    -
    ““I don’t like the idea of mentally unstable drug addicts living in a house built with taxpayer funds and they are allowed to use drugs! Why can’t they actually rehabilitate these people, and make them take drug tests? If they test positive then they get kicked out! I wouldn’t mind if they were actively trying to help, but allowing them to smoke crack and shoot up on Delridge is ridiculous!”
    -
    “And, “However, it is a lot easier, simpler and much less disturbing to ones life to attend a DESC fundraiser at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel for $125 a chair, toss in thousand or more and go home to your safe and stable neighborhood and feel good about yourself.” Rosanne
    -
    I challenge any of the armchair compassionate people who have posted here who think that this is a good location for this type of facility…” Been There
    -
    And even WSB ahd to defend themselves although they are neither pro nor anti DESC,
    ““Delridge Res, my turn to get to accuse somebody of defaming. Your comment actually breaks our rules but just for yuks, I’m letting it through so I can respond to it.” Tracy @ WSB
    -
    pjmanley, you might correctly argue that some of these things are not “hateful,” but do you seriously claim that they are not “nasty?”
    -
    “Nasty” or not, these comments are proveably WRONG and those directed at me personally reach the level of slander.
    They are unacceptable and have no place in this discussion.

    Comment by John — 12:21 pm November 10, 2011 #

  21. ” see here that Rick Hooper is laying the ground work for ignoring/excluding any and all Delridge Neighborhood concerns that make mention of the intended future residents on the basis that they are a “disabled” group”

    I have to agree. I think, looking at things, that this will happen yea or nay by the community.

    But “The forms have been obeyed!” will suffice for the political end.

    “Drug use will not be permitted in the facility” is all well and good until you run across residents shooting up and taking over the bus shelters as seems to be rampant in other parts of Seattle.

    We shall see what we shall see. I for one always keep my doors locked and my back gates, as well as other safety measures kept close to hand. I reccomend this course to others regardless of a place like this in any event.

    Comment by Jim P. — 12:27 pm November 10, 2011 #

  22. @concernedinws….you stated “but do take issue with a facility that does nothing to keep folks from using illicit drugs in a facility that I am paying for with my tax dollars.”….based on this line of reasoning you are saying that DESC can control what one of their tenants does in the privacy of their own living space? That is an invasion of one’s privacy as I see it. How do you keep your other neighbors from doing illicit drugs in their homes?

    Comment by Pete — 12:42 pm November 10, 2011 #

  23. Pete – I think comparing a private residence that is paid for with private money, to a community tax-payer funded facility, is apples to oranges.

    Comment by monroe1200 — 12:59 pm November 10, 2011 #

  24. Here are two comments from neighbors I feel comfortable sharing:
    ” I think the project is a very good thing. I believe in taking care of each other. The “fringe” of society is just as valuable as the mainstream. If we were a healthy balanced society people would not have to be homeless. That there are homeless is a sign of our sickness as a society, not just the sickness of individual people. I don’t do anything for the homeless in my neighborhood. At least I am not going to say, “Not in my backyard,” when someone else is trying to take care of the imbalance. ”

    here’s another comment from one of my neighbors:
    “My husband and I are both adamantly in FAVOR of this project. We have 2 children and live almost directly across the street from the site.

    We both strongly believe that people have a right to live where they want. There’s more to it than that, of course, but that’s about the crux of it.

    We’ve both been laying low since my husband was attacked online in the comments of WSB. Emotions are running very high, too high for either of us to feel comfortable in being really high profile about this issue. I’ve told neighbors face to face how I feel, but am not interested in online antics.”

    so I’m actually not lying and I resent the implication that I’m making crap up.

    In my tour of a DESC facility, the staff there explained that the human beings who are tenants sign a statement that they will not use drugs; they screen ALL visitors in and out; they do not allow any known criminals to visit (they do do background checks); and more which I can’t remember right now. I grilled the staff extensively and was satisfied that they were not covering something up.

    I gaurundamtee you there if you stand in the middle of the Delridge Library and do a 360, a significant percentage of the people you see will be alcoholics. Another percentage will be mentally ill. Some may be actively abusing a drug. They are all human beings and they are our neighbors. We can’t force people to make good choices.

    I hear that many people writing on the blog have a great deal of resentment towards the city for their treatment of our community. I appreciate that. DESC and the City did a shitty job of presenting the project to us. If they’d come in and said “we would like to site a facility for elderly, indigent chronic inebriates, many of whom are medically frail and mentally ill, who have the greatest likelihood of dying under the aurora bridge or being victimized by predators in downtown Seattle, can we start a dialogue,” I suspect we’d be in a very different place. No one wants to be presented with a fait accompli. We feel disrespected and it’s easy to assume the City is screwing us over.

    One of my favorite parenting books has a nice peice of advice: when you see your kids misbehaving, assume good intent. I am going to swallow the fear in my stomach and assume that the angry voices on the blog are concerned neighbors wanting to protect our community from potential harm. Please assume that I am a concerned neighbor wanting to do what is right for my family, my community, and for the most vulnerable among us. I’m extending that same honor to DESC and OH and DON… that they have good intentions.

    We are all human beings.

    Comment by I\'m Just sayin\' — 1:36 pm November 10, 2011 #

  25. DESC has no structure for it’s people other than shelter. Millions to be spent on housing what about counseling and helping these people kick their habits and live productively. Hobson and all the other yahoos pushing this forward should all be ashamed. Your plan seems flawed and none of you live in Delridge. I am a parent and speak for myself and not others and not afraid to do so. “Just Sayin” I personally will not stand at the bus stop in front of the DESC building with my kids, because of the lack of safety in Delridge. “Just Sayin” do you know why the bathrooms at the Delridge Library are locked? Because of the idiots using drugs in the bathroom I got that from the librarian oh and the security guard that was on hand. The library should be a safe place for families and children and it is not. Same goes for our parks I have called the police when I have seen people using drugs there. How are the fragile residents of the DESC community going to be safe in an area riddled with drug dealers, users and crime? “Just Sayin” I suggest you take the parents you talked to and maybe tour Delridge outside of your cars and the bubble you all seem to live in. We are talking about Delridge not Medina. DELRDIGE is not the place for this facility. STOP DESC!!!!!!!

    Comment by Non Fearing Opinionated Parent — 1:39 pm November 10, 2011 #

  26. Pete – Ought not the question be, how to reduce the existing on the street, in the alleys, in the Longfellow Creek woods, on the Findlay St. staircase, behind the Boren school illegal drug dealing/use and illegal public alcohol consumption? Is this ongoing public safety problem helped are harmed by adding up to 75 individuals with chronic drug and or alcohol problems? Will it serve them to be placed in such a location?

    Comment by Been There — 1:59 pm November 10, 2011 #

  27. I’m Just Sayin,

    I really appreciate that sentiment. Truly. I think though the problem is in that from the get go there’s been a “this project is going to happen,” attitude from all involved regardless of neighborhood outcry or common sense. I will also agree with you that there needs to be a place for the most vulnerable among us which a project like this would serve.
    .
    We also need to ensure that the placement of the facility will not endanger or unnecessarily burden those around such facility and such placement will promote rehabilitation among it’s residents.
    .
    So when DESC has studies such as,
    http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=100171, posted on their website it doesn’t lead to the conclusion that they will govern residency on a basis that is beneficial to the community that surrounds them.
    .
    This is compounded with the fact that the housing first model has zero accountability for residents. It’s a model that isn’t forward with its rehabilitation or recidivism rates. And as for DESC their an organization who’s proven willing to talk but unwilling to listen to neighbors’ concerns.

    Comment by MyEye — 3:00 pm November 10, 2011 #

  28. But you are infringing on an individual’s rights when you are saying what can and can’t be done in one’s private residence. It does not matter who is paying the rent. It is one’s home and that brings with it certain expectations of privacy.

    Comment by Pete — 3:01 pm November 10, 2011 #

  29. @Been There – no kidding. Walk my dog back on the Longfellow Creek trail often and half the time there are kids smoking pot (and on a few occasions crack/meth?) back there. Walked in on a few deals going down as well.

    Comment by Delridgian — 3:31 pm November 10, 2011 #

  30. I try to be thoughtful in forming my opinions. In evaluating DESC, I went on an extensive site visit tour of two of their buildings and have done enough reading to help me form a positive opinion of the agency’s work. In evaluating the proposed site location on Delridge, I too, wanted to be thoughtful about my approach. I hoped understanding what criteria experts use to evaluate a site would help me to understand the recommendation by City, State, and County funders.
    -
    I have done a fairly exhaustive review of any document I can get my hands on – trying to understand what criteria is used to determine the appropriateness of a site for this type of project. I keep thinking I will find a neat little list somewhere and that will help me to understand that, as stated in a comment below another DESC related story, “that the city, state, and non-profits that develop this sort of housing go through an exhaustive process of reviewing these projects, and would have long ago have vetoed it unless it was a reasonable choice.”
    -
    I have read the Consolidated Plan for the City of Seattle. I have read the Consolidated Plan for King County. I have read just about any other City or County documents I can get my hands on related to Housing. And through all of this endless reading, I can only find three indications of how a site location is evaluated:
    -
    1) A site is primarily measured by the “Siting Policy” which determines if an area can absorb more poverty (or extremely low-income housing) based on certain criteria
    -
    2) It is “encouraged” that a site is located near transit
    -
    3) It is “encouraged” that a site be in an area slated for higher density development
    -
    ** Note: I heard verbally at the last JRC (King County Funding Meeting) that projects located “near transit with access to amenities” was encouraged – but I have not found that statement written in any official document. I also know that the points associated with tax credits are part of the criteria for funding, and that in part, these points are earned by being in lower income neighborhoods (but I have only begun to understand how tax credits are measured.)
    -
    I even tried calling “Common Ground,” the consulting company that put this project together for DESC. The purpose of my call was this issue specifically, to understand the criteria used. I was promptly told that I need to speak with DESC directly, that Common Ground doesn’t do any community outreach and that communication would be clearest if I speak with DESC. I haven’t made that call, but I know that DESC spoke briefly about the site location at the Oct. 11 forum and offered little information regarding how a site is determined. I am aware that the questions from the forum have been submitted to DESC, and at least one of the questions is about site selection. I look forward to receiving the answer in writing.
    -
    I have done my homework and I have not been able to find any other location criteria documented (I would welcome additional information – if anyone has any.) This leads me to believe that either a) experts have determined that additional criteria has no value – that projects of this type thrive in most every location, or b) experts and decision makers are not doing due diligence to thoroughly review a site before funding it.
    -
    The confusion I am left with is that I have heard experts speak about the importance of access to amenities for the population that DESC serves. This is documented here by the Seattle Channel: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3061118 . I have also heard DESC speak of this importance as well. If amenities are indeed important, I would like to know why they aren’t a part of the evaluation criteria. If they are not important, or only encouraged, I think it would be helpful to educate the public about that so that neighbors don’t continue to feel confused about this discrepancy.
    -
    I am surprised to find that there is such a limited checklist for considering a site. If the answer is truly “a,” that no additional criteria is needed because these projects thrive in any location, then I would be humbled to have this explained to me.
    -
    Otherwise, I am left feeling that the oversight on these projects is to be questioned.

    Comment by Tanya Baer — 3:54 pm November 10, 2011 #

  31. Well said, RL.

    Comment by Krystal — 4:57 pm November 10, 2011 #

  32. Non Fearing Opinionated Parent writes,
    “DESC has no structure for it’s people other than shelter. Millions to be spent on housing what about counseling and helping these people kick their habits and live productively.” WRONG, Wrong, wrong.
    -
    From DESC Delridge,
    “♦ Uses evidence-based Housing First model; 24/7 on-site staffing; licensed mental healthcare, chemical dependency services, meals, outings, etc.” and
    “♦ Licensed mental health and chemical dependency provider.”
    -
    Let’s not let other FACTS get in the way of another FALSE CHARGE that keeps getting repeated.
    “I have no issue with people with mental illness living in my neighborhood but do take issue with a facility that does nothing to keep folks from using illicit drugs in a facility that I am paying for with my tax dollars.” concernedinws
    -
    concernedinws, you are Wrong on both parts of this statement.
    1) The facility’s mission and staff are devoted to keeping folks from using illicit drugs. DESC is a”Licensed mental health and chemical dependency provider.”
    -
    And for the second part of your profound lack of facts, let’s discuss “tax dollars” which is raised frequently by opposition including concernedinws and monroe1200 the two most recent examples.
    “Pete – I think comparing a private residence that is paid for with private money, to a community tax-payer funded facility, is apples to oranges.” monroe1200
    -
    First we all need to acknowledge that whether we are homeowners, renters or renters in Section 8 situations, we all are receiving some sort of tax payer funding, either mortgage interest deductions or other more direct aid from the government which means tax dollars.
    -
    And it is incredible to argue that rent paying residents lose their Constitutional Rights. This is not as monroe1200 claims apples to oranges.
    -
    Second the DESC residents are not getting a free ride on your, my or anyone else’s tax dollars as so many FALSELY claim.
    From DESC,
    “♦ Residents will all sign and abide by leases; will pay rent.”
    THE RESIDENTS WILL PAY RENT!!!
    -
    MyEye, you are floating another one with, “This is compounded with the fact that the housing first model has zero accountability for residents.”
    -
    WRONG. The whole point of these facilities is to develop accountability and ease residents back into being fruitful citizens or as MyEye inadvertently and correctly says, “promote rehabilitation among it’s residents.”

    Comment by John — 6:30 pm November 10, 2011 #

  33. Krystal, when you say, “Well said, RL,” which part of his false statement are you complimenting?
    -
    When RL writes, “substance abuse remains against the law, and is therefore not a “disability” qualifying for nondescrimination protection status,” he is missing the whole point of DESC.
    -
    DESC is a facility for helping those RECOVERING and with HISTORIES of substance abuse.
    -
    Krystal, RL and others are INCORRECT in their claims that this DESC program is in some way a subsidized shooting gallery.
    -
    And Krystal, RL and the uninformed others are WRONG in stating that a history of substance abuse is not a Disability.
    -
    Directly from the ADA website, once again for those who did not read it before,
    “(1) has successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs, or has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully and is no longer engaging in such use;

    (2) is participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in such use; or

    (3) is erroneously regarded as engaging in such use, but is not engaging in such use;”

    Comment by John — 6:44 pm November 10, 2011 #

  34. RL
    -
    You state, “I don’t claim to speak for everyone in the community, but I do think that I speak for more of the community than you do.”
    -
    According the latest census there are over 13,000 residents within Delridge. Until you can provide some reasonable proof that you claim to speak for the majority of Delridge on this issue, IE: a survey or vote, please do not even pretend that you can speak for most of these people just because you THINK that is the case. While there is obvious disagreement on this issue there is no proven consensus. Speaking out does not prove consensus either.
    -
    Additionally, and with all due respect, DESC has every legal right to build this project on this site with or without neighborhood consensus. Your objections are just that, yours. Frankly, in the end, your objections and those others who object don’t mean much either because again DESC has every legal right to build this project here and they likely will. If you don’t like it, then I suggest you get behind local politicians who wish to limit property rights and city funds for such projects. However, even if you are successful in getting such people elected and/or appointed, such limits on private property rights would likely be adjudicated in the courts in favor of the property owner.

    Comment by Delridge Res — 7:43 pm November 10, 2011 #

  35. John – I need to correct your innacurate statements above. You wrote that “DESC is a facility for helping those RECOVERING and with HISTORIES of substance abuse.” As you don’t seem to be familiar with DESC’s qualificatin criteria, I will educate you. Substance abuse is one of the criteria used in DESC’s “vulnerability assesment tool” used to determine eligability for their housing. Substance abuse scores range from 1 to 5. The more points, the more qualified a person is judged by DESC for their housing. A person scores a 5 (most eligible) if they have “Active addiction with little or no interest in Chronic Drug treatment involvement”. That is cut and pasted from their literature. Perhaps this misunderstanding on your part partially explains your misguided support for the project.

    Delridge Res – I agree that there is no proven consensus. I’m merely pointing out that this is not a neighborhood-supported project. They may push this project through, but it would be disingenuous to claim that it is neighborhood-supported as evidenced by the majority of comment on the WSB. Obviously, they don’t need neighborhood-support to proceed legally as they sought none before proceeding with it. They don’t care about the neighborhood, which is why I am speaking up. You go on above about private property rights, but that is beside the point. My objection is to using government (not private) funds to purchase the property and build this facility.

    Comment by RL — 12:22 am November 11, 2011 #

  36. RL, nice try. I see you have falsely increased your claim of one inaccurate statement by me to the plural.
    -
    But beyond that, your argument is flawed as it has confused qualification assessment criteria with DESC admissions. They are attempting to assess and help those at highest risk.
    -
    And your implications that those with a history of drug and alcohol use do not have a disability remain FALSE, as defined by ADA.
    -
    RL, as Delridge Res again points out, there is no legally allowed process to vote in or out anyone who chooses to purchase property or reside in our community.
    -
    It is uncertain that I, you or anyone could muster a majority of votes to allow our residency in the community. Such actions are antithetical to the very basis and history of our country.
    -
    And you are clearly wrong when you write, “I’m merely pointing out that this is not a neighborhood-supported project,” as at least some of us do support the project.
    -
    We would be just as right (and wrong) in writing, “we are merely pointing out that that this IS a neighborhood supported project.”
    -
    Besides right or wrong is a moot point, as balloting is not allowed to determine the outcome of private property rights.

    Comment by John — 7:38 am November 11, 2011 #

  37. Opinionated Parent, I’m another opinionated parent. I’m not sure why you’re asserting that I don’t live here. My kid goes to Pathfinder. My other kid used to go to sanislo. I live 2 blocks from Phoaroma. I’ve been active in NDNC. I helped out a bit on the playground project. I have walked Delridge streets every day for the past 6 years. My house was robbed — not by a mentally ill, indigent alcoholic, but by a teenage neighbor. I live here. Really, I do. I’d be happy to meet you at Pearls and talk more.

    Comment by I\\\'m Just sayin\\\' — 8:45 am November 11, 2011 #

  38. John- Having health care professionals and other resources available onsite does not mean DESC residents are required to stop abusing alcohol or drugs or required to be active in our community. For that there needs to be a plan and followup that which DESC does not have. Finally, I once again assert my opinion the location of the DESC building is “WRONG”.

    Just Sayin- Great you live in Delridge. Wonderful your kids go to school and that your active so am I. It is our interaction with the neighborhood that helps Delridge thrive. DESC residents we were told will not be able to interact with our neighborhood seems like a shame on DESC’s part. Sorry your house got robbed that is horrible, but you are aware of the crime issues in this area as you were a victim and what makes you think the DESC residents wont be victimized by these criminals as well. I decline your coffee meeting as I believe your time would be better spent helping your neighbor than wanting to change my opinion. I have right to state my opinion and I DO NOT and WILL NOT support this project. It is my opinion and I am entitled to it. STOP DESC!!!

    Comment by Non Fearing Opinionated Parent — 11:14 am November 11, 2011 #

  39. Non Fearing Opinionated Parent, “Having health care professionals and other resources available onsite does not mean DESC residents are required to stop abusing alcohol or drugs or required to be active in our community.”-
    -
    Perhaps. On the other hand the psychiatric, drug and alcohol counseling available 24/7 onsite does not mean DESC residents are required to continue using.
    -
    It does however mean that these services are constantly available and encouraged. And the success of other DESC residents in the complex add to this.
    -
    Just compare that to your example of seedy parts of Delridge and your library example. By your opposition, you suggest a preference to the current situation, which we all abhor.
    -
    I would also point out that locked bathrooms example is not limited to the Delridge library.
    Locked bathrooms are present throughout the city’s many coffee shops, restaurants, minimarts, gas stations, retail and commercial establishments. So what? And what does that have to do with housing for the homeless, at least they will no be denied access at DESC. Many of these bathrooms are locked up just to keep the homeless out, from doing what we all need to do.
    -
    When the homeless are locked out they are forced to defecate in the alleys, parks and their pants. This profound indignity is then compounded when they are not even allowed a place to wash up and shower. How is that right?
    -
    Non Fearing Opinionated Parent, you are also falsely spreading fear and paranoia with your library example. You state, “The library should be a safe place for families and children and it is not.” Locked bathrooms and a security guard in one small library and you say it is unsafe? I do not believe you can provide any data of an epidemic of assaults & robberies in the Delridge Library. Rather, I suggest that the homeless and addicts use anyplace available to wash-up or shoot-up and warm-up. Once again, where would you prefer having them do this? Right, let me anticipate your answer, “Anywhere but here,” and “NOT IN MY BACKYARD!”
    -
    That said, positions like yours guarantee the continuation of the very problems that you describe.
    -
    Finally, you do have the right to your opinion, as do I, and the DESC homeless housing project can help those less fortunate without your or my support.

    Comment by John — 1:16 pm November 11, 2011 #

  40. Hooper has some boldness to call this a “neighborhood‐supported project?” On what basis has he made this determination? Gut feeling? Instinct? Sorry, that doesn’t quite pass the muster test.
    -
    Obviously, neither Bill Hobson nor Rick Hooper have any intention of actually finding out how neighbors really feel about this project in a transparent, objective manner. Lord knows, my family would have never had heard about it without WSB. We never received any information in the mail nor saw anything posted anywhere in the vicinity and we live right down the street and are quite plugged into the neighborhood. Instead of asking neighbors how they feel, they’re taking it upon themselves to decide for us, moving right ahead with a project that will have very real consequences for those around it.
    -
    So, for those of us who disagree with DESC, it seems like there are a couple of different routes to go at this point.
    -
    1) Contact the larger media. Has anyone contacted the Seattle Times, KOMO, KING, KIRO, the Weekly, and the Stranger about this? If so, please comment below. Getting a broader spotlight on this issue will make a big difference.
    -
    2) Create a map based online poll. While not perfect, this would, at the very least, lend credibility for or against the project with some real numbers. Perhaps WSB could act as a neutral 3rd party moderator and host. Vizu makes map-based polls that are accurate, private, and incredibly easy to implement (go to vizu.com). Would you be open to this WSB?
    -
    3) Put together a class-action lawsuit. This is obviously a choice of last-resort. But, if it is the only way DESC will listen, perhaps it might be necessary.

    Comment by DelridgianForTransparency — 1:39 pm November 11, 2011 #

  41. No, he didn’t call it a “neighborhood-supported project.” This is apparently qualifying under the waiver granted regarding the number of units permitted. This was discussed further last night at a gathering at which he accepted the invitation of a group of local residents to meet at a private home. We were invited to cover it. I am working on the (lengthy) story but it’s taking a while due to some family obligations that are keeping me from the usual glued-to-the-computer-for-20-hours today. No major headline erupted but it’s definitely further elaboration on “what now?” for those interested, so watch for it by tomorrow morning – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:50 pm November 11, 2011 #

  42. DelridgianForTransparency, since WSB beat me to calling you on your fabricated quote, I ask you as I have asked many times before and all with zero response, how “will (this project) have very real consequences for those around it?”
    -
    Your adding to the chorus of unsubstantiated and unstated charges does nothing for the opposition.
    -
    With bias ignorance and discrimination so readily expressed by DESC opponents, it is little surprise that you smear Bill Hobson, Rick Hooper and DESC.
    -
    Your late entry to the discussion suggests that you are not, “quite plugged into the neighborhood,” or your neighbors and rarely read WSB which has covered this extensively for months.
    -
    Your suggestions of few routes of opposition is quite entertaining:
    1) Contact the larger media, a snarky poke at WSB itself, would widely expose the bankruptcy and prejudice of your NIMBY opposition.
    -
    Mike Seely, Editor in Chief of The Seattle Weekly, lives and is a homeowner in Delridge. Why don’t you approach him? It would be beyond belief that the author of “Seattle’s Best Dive Bars” would embrace such prejudice.
    -
    I dare say that Dan Savage, Editor of the Stranger, would absolutely savage such mean- spirited opposition.
    -
    Please do approach The Stranger and The Seattle Weekly.
    I look forward to their take on this issue, especially since the neighborhoods they have the strongest presence in have nearly all (Plymouth Housing with 10 downtown facilities) of Seattle’s homeless shelters.
    -
    The commercial tv stations could hype your NIMBYism for their ratings.
    -
    The Seattle Times with so much property,
    influence and support of downtown could have a hay-day comparing your opposition to the downtown area’s acceptance of the dozen downtown shelters, none of which has decimated life or property values there.
    -
    DelridgianForTransparency, your online poll would be interesting and might generate a disproportionate number of negative votes, but it would be nothing more than a popularity poll. In the USA, we are not allowed to vote in or out our private property neighbors.
    -
    A class-action suit Against the American Disabilities Act? That must be in jest, but here in the USA anyone can file a lawsuit, as long as they can afford the steep price of counsel. Good luck.

    Comment by John — 4:35 pm November 11, 2011 #

  43. John,

    You seem really impassioned regarding DESC’s ability to provide a rehabilitation service the homeless. Where can we find information regarding the rehabilitation rates of their residents?

    Comment by MyEye — 8:15 pm November 11, 2011 #

  44. MyEye, thanks for the compliment.
    But your characterization of my passion is incorrect when you assert it is “regarding DESC’s ability to provide a rehabilitation service the homeless.”
    -
    I do believe that providing housing and care for the homeless with disabilities will rehabilitate some and get all others off of the streets where they area at much higher risk.
    -
    And I do believe from DESC’s purpose statement that is what they intend and in fact do.
    -
    Without DESC facilities to house them, these highest of risk humans do get assaulted, raped and perish homeless in the streets.
    -
    MyEye, you ask, “Where can we find information regarding the rehabilitation rates of their residents?”
    Funny you should inquire as I went so far as to just read the link you provided as an argument against DESC above.
    -
    From that Psychiatry Online link,
    “Some programs, like those of Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), employ an approach to select clients with the most severe challenges. This approach, where receipt of housing is not contingent on clinical stability or on acceptance of treatment or other services, is known as “Housing First” and shows promising results in terms of housing retention (2,16).”
    -
    I was surprised by the statistics,
    “The housing success rate was 72% (N=249), accounting for participants who went on to reach two years of continuous residency in DESC’s housing or who moved out to appropriate and adequate housing before two years. Seventy percent (N=124) of participants with a criminal history achieved the outcome, compared with 74% (N=125) of participants without a criminal history.”
    -
    WOW! Above 70% is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!
    -
    Of course such wonderful results are not possible if NIMBY concerns prevail and the facility is not
    established.
    -
    MyEye, thanks again for the compliment and directing us to the data you were looking for.

    Comment by John — 9:50 pm November 11, 2011 #

  45. Hey John, I think you are confusing rehabilitation with retention. And also a question for a complement. I really do want to understand because this isn’t a NIMBY issue for myself. My concern is two fold. First, is DESC a program that deserves another 4.45 million to build in an at risk area. Secondly, is the area they are choosing to build good for all involved.
    .
    I’m glad there’s programs that exist to help those that are vulnerable. But by this data, which I also read on the DESC site, these places aren’t working at being much than a holding facility. And since they don’t make taking medication or involvement in rehabilitation programs contingent on staying, even if people graduate to other housing I’d contend that there should be some longitudinal studies done on how long that lasts. I’ll go out on a limb and state that if your measure of success is taking someone from 15 drinks a day to 10.6 drinks a day the answer is: not long. So I think ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, is disingenuous at best.
    .
    That being said, I’ll agree with you that we need to do something for those people who are at risk. We agree on that! And I’ll also agree that DESC seems about as caring an organization as you could find in the housing first model.
    .
    So, since we agree that something needs to be done. And I think most agree that places like this need to built, we’re left with the question where to build it. Why Delridge? Delridge is in a food desert, in a time of transition, has poor transportation options, and is a lower density neighborhood. But the land is cheap, so…
    .
    Will it work for the 75 residents to pile into the one van and go to the store. Will they honor their “commitment” to not allow in sex offenders mere blocks away from parks and schools. I think not. People are rightly upset about this project because of the lack of thought put into location, density, and ramifications of this project.

    Comment by MyEye — 10:51 am November 12, 2011 #

  46. MyEye, thanks.
    -
    You make a valid point about the word ‘retention,’ but then you extrapolate, disingenuos at best, the incredibly high retention rates (70%) into,
    - “I’ll go out on a limb and state that if your measure of success is taking someone from 15 drinks a day to 10.6 drinks a day the answer is: not long.”
    That is certainly not my measure of success, nor of the study’s, nor I dare suggest, DESC’s. It does however illustrate a false manipulation of the 70% statistic. If not, where did you get your drinks per day data?
    -
    The high success rate is award winning and nationally recognized.
    -
    People with disabilities start out homeless and hopeless, move into DESC, learn to pay rent, address their disabilities through psychological and or drug/alcohol counseling and then move successfully out into community at large (where some of them could be our neighbors without us even knowing) and are clearly not just passing through a holding facility.
    -
    I also don’t know where your claim, “since they don’t make taking medication or involvement in rehabilitation programs contingent on staying,” comes from?
    -
    But if DESC did make that criteria for SELECTION, they would be eliminating all of those at highest risk of rape, assault and death in the streets. Doing so, DESC would be abandoning its “housing first” concept, the very one that leads to their 70% high success rate for the most challenging disabled.
    -
    Further parsing of “retention” and “rehabilitation” leads to the question of how could there be such high “retention” rates without “rehabilitation?” If there were low “rehabilitation,” there would in turn be low “retention” as the disabled would lose their jobs, apartments and end up back on the streets, homeless.
    -
    MyEye, I am sorry to again call you on what all of your arguments are, NIMBY ones.
    -
    Very few people admit to being NIMBY, but the same fact free and paranoid fear mongering statements define your arguments as NIMBY.
    -
    Why do you never suggest where DESC housing should be placed? Certainly not downtown with its dozen shelters. Once again, please be specific.
    -
    Why Delridge? Because Delridge needs it, if for no other reason than to show NIMBY attitudes to be prejudicial and wrong.
    -
    As I so often point out, Delridge is in transition. It is much better and stronger than it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago.
    It has received enormous largesse of infrastructure from our taxes in the form of schools, parks, community centers, libraries, play fields…just compare it to other neighborhoods.
    -
    The land is indeed cheap which allows more homeless to be served more efficiently.
    -
    Of course it will not, “work for the 75 residents to pile into the one van and go to the store.”
    -
    That is a highly disingenuous argument like arguing Safeco Field should be shut down because 47,000 people cannot all use the restrooms simultaneously or that hotels that advertise shuttle services should be able to bus all of their guests at one time.
    -
    MyEye, your argument concerning “lower density”
    exposes NIMBYism by the lack of opposition to the new apartment buildings being developed in the Steep Slope/Possible Slide area near Home Depot and the other development in North Delridge.
    How could any private developer risk his business in such a “fragile,” “food desert” with poor transportation options?
    The chief difference being these higher density developments are not for the disabled homeless.
    -
    I don’t know where you came up with, “DSEC’s ‘commitment’ to not allow in sex offenders mere blocks away from parks and schools.”
    -
    Such a commitment is ridiculous as DESC has no authority over the sex offenders that currently reside or are homeless in our neighborhood. If sex offenders do reside at DESC, they would be monitored, counseled and possibly medically treated. How is that bad?

    Comment by John — 1:01 pm November 12, 2011 #

  47. For any neighbors who are concerned about the DESC project and want to make your voices heard, join:
    -
    http://groups.google.com/group/northdelridge?hl=en

    Comment by Delridgian For Reasonable Development — 2:03 pm November 12, 2011 #

  48. John,

    Where to begin…

    I don’t think you know this program as well as you might think. If you would listen to the arguments and concerns rather just asserting that everyone who disagrees is only doing so because of NIMBY mentality, we could work towards a solution. Because we really do need a solution to the homeless problem.

    The problem with the study you posted from DESC is that it looks only at retention rate and not rehabilitation. In fact none of the studies on DESC look at rehabilitation. And for DESC it’s good as compared to other housing first models, national standard is ~45%. I really hope if the ill-thought through design goes through we are closer to 70 than 45, but who cares about national statistics anyway.

    I got my numbers from DESC. http://www.desc.org/documents/DESC_1811_JAMA_info.pdf
    .
    So, the 10.6 drinks a day is something they are bragging about. If your definition of success is retention than yes, DESC is successful. But As you point out, “That is certainly not my measure of success,” so we agreed on one more thing! DESC is not successful at rehabilitation. Retention, yes, rehab, no.
    .
    Your statement that people move successfully out into the community at large is not supported by the study you posted nor any evidence that I can find. Indeed, people that were still living in the facility after 2 years were counted in the 70% rentention rate. And there’s no longitudinal study that I can find that demonstrates the success criteria of these programs.
    .
    And yes, if they made their tenants lease contingent upon participation in counseling programs and mandatory monitoring of medication it wouldn’t be a “housing first” model.
    .
    You also have a skewed perception of how the residents pay for their flats. Most don’t have jobs, the majority receive money from the government in the form of SSI. Which leads to your question, How could there be high retention and no rehabilitation? Well, the people there get housing, food, and their rent money comes from the government and there’s no expectation of rehabilitation. Also let’s not forget that a good percentage 30% do end up back on the street homeless, and that’s before we take a look at people after they leave DESC.
    .
    And this isn’t a NIMBY argument this is an argument of philosophy of what helps vulnerable groups in the long term that has nothing to do with location.
    .
    It’s really clear from your remaining arguments that while you have a fantastic heart to helping the homeless you have no eye to consequences of locating such a service in Delridge.
    .
    So John, I am sorry to have to call you on what all of your arguments are, poorly thought out.
    .
    Let’s get to location. Why are there a dozen shelters in downtown? Because that’s where we have a majority of the homeless population. It’s kind of a no brainer to have a majority of the facilities there.
    .
    “Why Delridge? Because Delridge needs it, if for no other reason than to show NIMBY attitudes to be prejudicial and wrong.” Really that’s your argument for locating it here? Why not locate it in a place then that doesn’t have any section 8 housing or such a high proportion of poverty in the area. Really? That’s such an ignorant comment and points to the critical flaw in your thinking: that any place is a good place to put this kind of facility.
    .
    “The land is indeed cheap which allows more homeless to be served more efficiently.” The land being cheap has nothing to do with the homeless being served more efficiently. Maybe stored more efficiently but surely they are going to strive to maintain the same ratio of staff to resident ratio that’s helped them achieve the 70% retention rate. So density has nothing to do with efficiency. In fact, such density may actually hurt their goals if the program doesn’t scale well. In fact the land is cheap because it’s in a food desert with little amenities and a high poverty rate. Exactly the kind of place a homeless person thrives in. In case you missed it, that was sarcasm.
    .
    What is the difference in transportation between a hotel and Safeco field and DESC. And you call my arguments disingenuous? Well neither of those are homes and both do have transportation and amenities in place to adequately meet the needs of their constituents. 1 van and 75 people does not meet those needs. Also, we’re talking about the most vulnerable subset of the homeless population not Seahawk fans (the most vulnerable of the nfl fan population.)
    .
    John, how might the people of those new apartment building be better able to handle the challenges of living in a food desert with poor transportation options than a mentally-ill substance abusing homeless person? Perhaps, people just aren’t as concerned those developers aren’t setting up those people to fail to the same extent that DESC is setting up it’s future residents.
    .
    DESC agreed in one of the first meetings that they wouldn’t allow sex offenders to reside in the building if it was what the community wanted. I’m sure someone can provide you the link if you can’t find it yourself. It’s on tape. Maybe they lied? http://westseattleblog.com/2011/06/passionate-meeting-but-delridge-homeless-housing-project-will-roll-on
    .
    And as to where I would put it, well if it’s to be in West Seattle. I’d put it in *my* back yard. I’d look to area’s around the Junction as there’s access to rapid transit, food, and greater opportunities for employment partnerships within potential walking distances. Yes, I no longer live in Delridge. I’m just against a bad idea and for a real solution.

    Comment by MyEye — 2:34 pm November 12, 2011 #

  49. Specifically, somewhere in the vicinity of Fauntleroy and SW Alaska.

    Comment by MyEye — 2:46 pm November 12, 2011 #

  50. MyEye, I have given that one long thought.
    -
    We could place all those outcasts in the triangle
    but that area is/has;
    too expensive, too many schools, no hospital, too close to a battered women’s shelter, too close to California/Alaska junction with its high crime rate, available drugs and bank robberies, too overburdened transit, too close to seniors housing that only has one shuttle van, too dense, too many bars, too many soon to be liquor retailers, too close to Trader Joe’s, neighbors have already lived through too much construction upheaval already taking place, too close to the YMCA, too close to play schools, too close to pharmacies, to close to marijuana outlets, too close to parks, too close to West Seattle Stadium, too close to Huskies Deli(think about the children!), too close to a toy store (think about the children), too many drunks, too many panhandlers, too many addicts, too many sex offenders, too many alleys, no Libraries, too little diversity, too many pet shops (think about the animals!), too close to a Funeral Home (think about the dead and mourners!) and of course too close to Pogies.
    -
    MyEye, just think back a few years when the junction was in decline, it is still too fragile.
    -
    I am sure the neighbors would vote it down.
    -
    I am sure you do not have data showing neighborhood support.
    -
    What if DESC moved there and the whole area turned into the ‘Hole Foods Pit?’
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    MyEye aren’t you aware that unless you live in the Delridge Neighborhood, you have no say in this, even here on WSB?
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    Or as others have said, If you want it there so much, why don’t you open up your residence?
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    I hope realize from my long list of reasons why DESC is just not the right fit for the Triangle…think about how fragile it is, property values, how little bang for my tax dollars, but most of all, THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!
    -
    And just because I have provided you with such an extensive list of reasons not to allow DESC into the Triangle, please do not broad-brush me as a NIMBY.
    -
    I am not a NIMBY, I am not!
    I find that word offensive, besides it clearly does not apply to me…I know someone with mental illness, I know someone who is an alcoholic, I know someone who abuses illicit drugs, I’ve slept on a couch, I support the homeless, I buy Real Change.
    -
    I just feel there are many other locations more appropriate.

    Comment by John — 4:09 pm November 12, 2011 #

  51. John,

    At the risk of insulting your thought process, you bring up some good points. No location in westseattle has good access to medical facilities. But certainly there are less schools,and better transportationin other areas. You asked for a specific better location.
    .
    I’m not going to get into a straw man argument with you about a fictional site. The broader point is that there are better available places in west Seattle than the proposed location.
    .
    But, you know, way to gloss over the other points I made.
    .
    Your not a NIMBY. A fool perhaps but not a NIMBY.

    Comment by MyEye — 5:02 pm November 12, 2011 #

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