Fauntleroy Park Homeless Encampment

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  • #889945

    SW206
    Participant

    I walk my dogs through Fauntleroy Park pretty routinely. I entered the park today at the SW Cambridge St and 37th Ave SW location and followed the path uphill and to the left. About a 150 yards up, there is a tent pitched to the left of the trail. I have been home during the day most days this week and have seen a guy going back and forth with a shopping cart full of stuff. He appears homeless and I assume that the camp I saw is his, but can’t be sure. I haven’t seen him around before and he entered the park after I exited it. Today was the third time I saw him in two days. He was carrying a shovel in there right after I left the park.

    I feel bad for the guy, but I know people volunteer a lot of time to maintain the park. Also other WS Blog posts (here and here) indicate that this type of thing has been an issue before in the area.

    I called the SPD non-emergency line to report it and they sent me to the Customer Service Bureau. The bottom line was that there isn’t much that can be done unless he is threatening, there is drug related activity, etc. A report has been filed and I was told that social services will go check in with him at some point.

    Park maintenance, sanitation, etc. aside, it is a bit unsettling especially considering other reports regarding homeless encampments in WS. I wanted to post this to let others know. If anyone has a better idea on how to report this in order to both get the guy living in the park some assistance and get the camp removed in a more expedient manner, that would be helpful.

    Thanks.

    #890385

    JoB
    Participant

    if we don’t want homeless people camping in our parks we need to give them safe places to go

    #890491

    birdrescuer
    Participant

    AMEN TO THAT JOB

    #890493

    wsn00b
    Participant

    Nice! Super close to 2 day-cares (FCC and YMCA). I’d love to see my toddler tour the encampment during park walks. Just got to make sure that if/when the needles show up the kid is armored up in protective rubber gloves and shoes – right?

    To perhaps amend JoB’s post:
    If we don’t want homeless people camping in our parks we need to *find a new state and city government* to give them safe places to go.

    #890613

    mark47n
    Participant

    JoB; I disagree with your assertion that we are obligated to provide the homeless a place to go in order to dispose of the encampments. I’ve travelled to several cities in the last two years, to say nothing of the rest of my life, and I feel comfortable in saying that none of them suffer the proliferation of encampments like we do here. The camps are unsanitary, which affects the camp AND surrounding areas and are potentially dangerous in other ways as well and to tell me otherwise is wishful thinking in light of the assaults and the few murders that have happened within. While I don’t have a permanent solution I can definitely say that what we are doing (and not doing) clearly isn’t working.

    The idea that we have to just accept the status quo until the nonexistent permanent solution is in place is preposterous.

    #890884

    JanS
    Participant

    so, Mark…if the encampments are gone, what are your suggestions for helping the thousands of homeless in this city, keeping families together, protecting the homeless children among them…oh…I see you answered that already…no suggestions, no solutions coming from you. I don’t like the fact that there are people living in the urban woods either(better a tent than under some newspapers under a bridge- they are still human beings, not animals), and you’re right about the city and it’s failed efforts. I do not think wsn00b has the answer…ship them out to somewhere else…and a reference to all homeless being pedophiles or drug addicts that leave a trail of needles everywhere they go is not right either. Our dear mayor has been ineffective in dealing with homeless people…so I suppose we need to make sure that in November we all vote(all-lol..what a concept..let’s see exactly how many didn’t vote again when the numbers are in) for someone who might do a better job. Let’s see, a woman will be mayor…it’s been a long time since Dear Bertha…and we have to advocate for the homeless to this new mayor, whoever it may be…perhaps putting our collective monies where our mouths are…sort of like what JoB has done here for years and years…

    #890942

    22blades
    Participant

    Just a suggestion but I seem to get better response by calling the agency of jurisdiction instead of SPD. I called SDOT the other day of a revolving door of questionable people going in and out of the maintenance door to the void under the High Span On Ramp. They seem to respond better. I realize these agencies can’t be cops but they can change locks or access.

    #890943

    sna
    Participant

    Our current city policies towards the homeless is terrible and spending more money without significant changes will only make the problem worse.

    For instance, the 2016 & 2017 counts of unsheltered homeless saw Seattle’s population of unsheltered homeless increase by 31% while the rest of the county only increased by 4%. The recent Seattle homeless needs survey noted 51% of homeless came here from outside the city. And it is a highly biased, self reported survey so the real number is certainly significantly higher.

    Seattle is a destination for the region’s homeless population despite what the highly flawed/biased surveys the city likes to champion. And it’s things like our tolerance of camping in parks and non arrests for crimes that make it so desirable. Drive down Alaskan Way S or Spokane St and bicycle theft “chop shops” brazenly operate in plain view of the police that drive by with impunity.

    Solutions?

    Stop treating the homeless population as a monolithic group. Some do just need a hand up but others need to be arrested. Get families into housing as fast as possible and encourage them to locate to areas where they will be able to afford market rate rents so they’re not back out on the street in 6 months. Housing assistance for those struggling with rent, but otherwise able to make it. Prioritize spending for those displaced in Seattle rather than those who have moved here from somewhere else. Arrest those committing crimes such as property thefts and littering of needles. *Generally* do not tolerate camping in parks or encampments (some of the well managed encampments could be part of the solution). Clean up the trash even if it means frequent sweeps. Demand other cities (looking at you Bellevue & the eastside) do their part in their communities.

    This idea that we can just spend more money and solve it is false. Progressives love to make the argument that you can’t solve traffic by building more highway lanes because more cars will just fill them up. The same is true with the homeless in Seattle so long as we allow them to do whatever/whenever. Moreover, between Seattle and King County we already spend well over $100M per year and the problem is only getting much worse. You should be demanding to know what it’s being spent on before throwing more money at it.

    #890963

    mark47n
    Participant

    JanS; I’m comfortable with criticizing an (non)approach to this issue without voicing a solution. I’m not convinced that there is a real solution to homelessness without being willing and able to spend some shekels and having a governing philosophy that is committed to solving these issues which are as various and complex as the processor in the laptop I’m writing this on.

    My point is a simple one; these encampments are illegal. There is no room for discussion here, it’s a black and white issue. Our city has decided to ignore those laws and allowed these encampments to flourish and multiply. These encampments, largely, are sketchy at best and downright dangerous at worst. Some are well kept such as the ones I ride by under the viaduct by the ferry terminal and others are bazaars of bike parts (where the hell do all of the bikes come from?!) seeping with effluent and mental illness. In the past homeless encampments were undercover and unobtrusive so as to not attract law enforcement. Now, with them being flagrantly out in the open, I can’t help but wonder; has a sense of legitimacy has attached to those that occupy these camps?

    Other cities have large homeless populations but don’t have these tent cities popping up all over the place. To me, this is indicative of how ineffective the city is from the politicians to law enforcement. Ironically, the SPD (yes, who work for the city) ,who’ve required federal intervention due to brutality incidents, won’t touch these encampments. Vigorous enforcement of laws forbidding camping on public lands would be a good start.

    Where do these people all go? I don’t have an answer to that…no one really does. But, JanS, until you fill up your home with a few who are homeless, I’d worry less about my feelings about the whole situation and examine your own.

    #890983

    JanS
    Participant

    dear mark…I am one step away from being homeless myself. Believe me, it is a scary thought. I am 70 and disabled. My feelings about it? I have examined it many times. While I respect what you are saying, the fact remains that these people are human beings, not animals. During sweeps, the paperwork they might have, any belongings, go in the trash. The attitude is…these people are trash. Period.Just throw them out. For a better look at what might be done, I refer you to Rex Hohlbein and http://www.facinghomelessness.org. There are things that CAN be done…

    #891189

    mark47n
    Participant

    I understand that these are human beings and I feel sympathy for their plight. I’ve known homeless families and, in my past life, I’ve taken homeless teens in off the street (I was in my early 20’s) and had a few interesting experiences doing so, some that I’d rather not repeat.

    Again, I don’t have a solution. I can explain to you, in depth, AC theory, automation, the ideas that surround high voltage distribution systems and many other things that would bore you to death but I have nothing for this. Perhaps this is because, as my wife says, I’m not an empathetic person. I don’t think that this is an acceptable solution for a city: analysis paralysis. The camps have been acknowledged as being dangerous on numerous levels but the city has accepted them and has for an interminable time. There is no perfect solution. A perfect solution would have to encompass and provide customized support for people who are deeply mentally ill, have pets and are unable to manage their basic needs, this is one person, and thousands of people who are mere slivers of this, to say nothing of families which has complications of its own. How do you do that? We already have a system for this that is beleaguered by the numbers of people that require that support, caseworkers that are so underwater with their work and no funds to do what needs to be done.

    Given that this city lacks the political will to offend the private development interests that infest this city and insist that they cover at least some of the costs of the infrastructure that is needed to handle the added multitudes that their buildings house, how on earth would the city have the wherewithal to do anything about this thorny issue that only has costs associated with it?

    #891234

    skeeter
    Participant

    “Vigorous enforcement of laws forbidding camping on public lands would be a good start.”

    I agree. Well said.

    #891344

    park volunteer
    Participant

    Having been engaged in volunteer community enhancement for 35 years (park weeding, food banks, crime prevention, inter-faith dialogue, grant writing and much more) I believe that the sentiment expressed by JoB, birdrescuer and JanS are misguided as they seem to be promoting the idea that this person should be allowed to stay.

    I have a good friend of over 23 years that has been using city state & federal support since moving here 20 years ago. He lives in a SHA Belltown top floor apartment with some Puget Sound view. He gets food stamps, healthcare at Harborview (pre-Obamacare) along with other tax-payer subsidies. He got the apartment after the couple staying there was kicked out for misbehavior (becoming homeless). He used the system by being patient, persistent and respectful of others. Coincidentally my mother lived in the same building until her death.

    A homeless man has been regularly attending service at my church for over 2 months. Our pastor has known him for 10 years. A family took him in but gave up due to his mental illness. I spoke to the church at 1320 SW 102nd St. that has a good shelter with beds to spare. Informing him about it he preferred to sleep outside. Also in White Center at 10821 8th Ave. SW is Mary’s Place a shelter for families. By the way unincorporated King County doesn’t allow such camping (tents or vehicles), yay Rat City!

    The biggest threat to Fauntleroy Creek and its salmon is feces:

    https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/0810041.html

    The last time I’m aware of a homeless encampment in the park the man was arrested for breaking into nearby homes, even stealing one homeowner’s gun collection. There are other options. The city’s current policy is foolish.

    #891345

    anonyme
    Participant

    Park volunteer, thank you for your hard, and often thankless work.

    I agree with you completely. This activity is illegal and should not be tolerated. And speaking of safety – how about the rest of us feeling safe in the parks we pay for? While we may not be able to eliminate every illegal activity in parks, we certainly should not be encouraging or condoning it.

    #891353

    JoB
    Participant

    I didn’t say that the campers should be allowed to stay.

    I said that if we want them to go and not be replaced with more campers we have to bite the bullet and acknowledge that the rising price of housing in this city is creating new homeless people every day and that the safety net has waiting lists that are literally years long.. even for the elderly, the disabled and homeless families.

    temporary shelters where they have a bed for the night but no place to safely store their belongings or fix a meal are not the answer… all they do is perpetuate the problem.. making it nearly impossible for those housed in them to find or keep jobs.

    Seattle has the third highest homeless population in the country.. and it’s not because we create such a cushy environment for them. living on the streets is not a cushy lifestyle by any means. While there are people here who are homeless by choice the vast majority of them are not. They are where they are because they simply have no other choice.

    it’s time we stopped writing off our homeless population as people who are crazy or lazy or addicts and started acknowledging that a full time job at minimum wage will not create enough income to afford housing here… so anyone living paycheck to paycheck is literally one accident, one illness, one downsizing away from living on the streets.

    You might ask yourself what you would do if you found yourself there. There are those who don’t turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the depression that quickly settles in but they are made of far sterner stuff than most of us.

    Far from being some kind of naive little old lady.. i am a realist.

    If you want your cushy lifestyle with your parks free of campers you are going to have to stop blaming the campers and insist on viable solutions… because this problem is not getting smaller.

    #891354

    JoB
    Participant

    I will ask this because Jan has shared her story..

    Where do you expect Jan to go if her rent goes up again and she still is simply on the list to be on the list to be offered an apartment when one opens up (translation.. when someone dies).

    How long do you think a kidney transplant with medical issues severe enough to have her spending an average of 2 days at week at doctor’s appointments.. every week.. and heart problems will survive in a shelter where she has to get up and leave every morning at 7 AM.. and spend her day on the streets?

    She gets social security and she works as much as her body will allow her.. which these days isn’t enough to keep her bills paid. She has applied for and recieved every assistance for which she qualifies.. yet it isn’t enough.

    She hopes that senior housing (which she can afford) will come through before her rent is raised again.. but to be honest that is a major crap shoot. She worries every single day that tomorrow will be the day she gets the notice that will effectively dump her on the street.

    Jan is just one of the many faces of our homeless population.. people living on incredibly thin margins with no resources if and when the worst happens.. they have medical expenses they didn’t expect, their rent goes up, their utilities get turned off for non payment.. etc…

    When you are busy labeling “those” homeless folks you might think of Jan.. or of Mike (who is now in housing but struggling to stay there).

    “those” people live among you.. either one step from the streets or hiding there in plain sight.

    #891368

    JoB
    Participant
    #891403

    JoB
    Participant

    another timely article..
    it’s not that there are no viable solutions…

    There’s a better way to fight homelessness than emergency shelters

    #891412

    JanS
    Participant

    I also didn’t advocate letting the campers stay there. I did ask what solutions you might suggest, where this camper should go, if removed from the park, belongings scattered, thrown in the trash, etc. I ask, what are you doing to help the problem besdies just making them move on to another city. That’s no solution , and is callous to boot. Again, they are humans, not animals, or trash to be discarded so they don’t mess up your lovely life.

    Here’s hoping our next mayor has some different ideas than the current people in power.

    #891459

    park volunteer
    Participant

    Wow! I seem to have touched a nerve; it is a contentious issue after all.

    First to JoB: You, JanS and I seem to be in agreement that people in general shouldn’t be allowed to camp in public parks. Why doesn’t the city council? However I believe the high cost of housing is only marginally why there is so much homelessness. Rather I suspect the primary causes are:

    1) The inability to forcibly treat the mentally ill unless they threaten immediate harm.
    2) The breakdown of, or even non-formation, of families thus people having little or no support.
    3) The diminishing effect of religious institutions as society becomes more secular.
    4) People with serious criminal history.
    5) Significant drug/alcohol addiction.

    There is a lot of overlap in what I mention above. Housing costs can and should be dealt with at minimum micro-housing and allowing more backyard cottages through less red-tape. I’m not in favor of “writing off” people, far from it. I do believe that it’s fair to ask of the able-minded & bodied to contribute to the society that is assisting them. Something we don’t currently do. Forget “no justice no peace”, no responsibility no dignity.

    I met someone recently that works for the feds regarding the EBT card program. He is so frustrated that they won’t limit its use to only healthy food. The friend I mentioned above told me one time he entered the SHA building after grocery shopping. Some residents looked in his bag to see what he had. They exclaimed ‘wow the food bank has that?’ He explained the reason they said this was because they sell their EBT for drugs then get their food from the food bank rather than the store. If the public monies were more responsibly spent you wouldn’t have nearly the push back against the welfare state and yes more money could come. But to too many bureaucrats it’s simply not their money.

    I read the article from the Compass Housing Alliance you included. The author confirmed point 2) that I listed; her step-daughter moved in with them. I am one of those mean callous landlords with only one small single family house as a rental. The current tenant is its 4th since it became a rental. He came recommended by people I trust. It’s clear now that his life is in a tailspin due to drug use. I’m in the process to get him out. The aftermath could very well cost me $3,000 and considerable grief. By Seattle standards I am lower middle class with a disabled son that likely will never work. If the tenant had only done what he said he would I wouldn’t have raised the rent let alone evict him.

    Our city leaders and voters are so anti-corporation yet their increasingly stringent rules on landlords forces people like me to sell our homes leaving the local rental market increasingly to corporations. Way to go Sharma! Check out Venezuela all you budding Seattle socialists.

    Finally to JanS: I wish you the best. I can imagine the dire straits you find yourself in. I could see the possibility of it with my son or others I love. I don’t believe in treating people like animals because I have a Judeo-Christian worldview. As such I don’t see people simply as cleaver more evolved animals, unlike the prevailing humanistic worldview that dominates this area. After writing this I plan on visiting the camper in question to tell him about the shelter bed available nearby. I’d even drive him there. It’s the least I can do. If only the city would do this.

    #891480

    JoB
    Participant

    park volunteer..
    i think the reasons you outlined were once the main reasons that people became homeless.
    unfortunately that’s no longer the case. the fastest growing segment of the homeless population are kids and the elderly.. neither of which can be assumed to have criminal histories, drug problems or psychiatric problems if you rule out stress induced PTSD. We do not have enough housing available for them.. nor are shelter beds the answer.
    i am glad you will be talking to the fellow now camping where he shouldn’t. i would hope that in addition to giving him shelter information you listen to what is driving him into our woods.. and why he might make a choice other than a shelter.
    i am no longer able bodied enough to trek into the woods myself.

    Over the years i have befriended a large number of the residents who camp in the woods that surround us. Some have used their hand up to get themselves into services and housing.. some have not. Some have been successful in rebuilding their lives enough to reach some stability.. some have not.

    But each and every one of them was a person with a reason for ending up on the streets…

    our safety net does not provide nearly the safety we think it does.

    #891514

    JanS
    Participant

    you mentioned EBT cards. I just wonder who would be the decider of what’s healthy, and what’s not. Poor people, because they are poor, shouldn’t ever have certain things (for instance, bacon) because they should be punished because they are poor? All that regulation gets iffy, gets downright discriminatory because you are a “lesser class” of people.It’s a slippery slope. And I have yet to figure out how one sells an EBT card…guess I travel in the wrong circles…

    #891516

    JoB
    Participant

    JanS.. unfortunately i could tell you where and how.. if the places i once knew about haven’t been busted yet… that is one of the many scams that make money off the homeless population.. they buy them for a small percentage of their dollar value :(

    FYI to everyone else because i know Jan knows this…

    EBT cards aren’t totally useless for homeless people but unless they have one of those illegal camps they can’t get full value out of them because they literally have no place to store or cook food.. and EBT cards can’t (or couldn’t. there was a push to change the rules) be used to purchase prepared foods.. so all of that deli stuff you think they could be eating? not with their EBT cards.

    bet most of you didn’t think about that.

    #891518

    park volunteer
    Participant

    You’re absolutely correct. When you are receiving something you didn’t pay for those giving it have a right to place any conditions on it they wish. This is why conservatives are so wary of especially big government. The single payer healthcare system of Britain recently engaged in the forced euthanasia of baby Charlie Yates. Releasing him to be treated in the US would not have cost their system a penny but if the treatment proved to be successful it would have been a severe judgment of it. This simply couldn’t be allowed.

    #891545

    JoB
    Participant

    park volunteer..
    What? where did baby Charlie come from in this conversation? that flew in from right field.

    but to address the restrictions on EBT.. i have to ask how much sense it makes to restrict their use to foods that a good many of the people who are trying to utilize them can’t store or cook?

    wouldn’t it make more sense if they could purchase nutritious deli food that is prepared than the endless boxes of snack foods that are sold in easy to carry and eat packages?

    that is.. if we want them to use the EBT cards to eat.

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