“The city is not the enemy – the homeless are not the enemy”

This just came in as a comment following last night’s report on the SHARE sleep-out protest in Mayor Nickels‘ neighborhood. The commenter offers insight and proposals that we thought you might want to read, even if you don’t usually look at story comments. It was signed “D Kramer”:

I am formally of tent city 4 and I refused to do this protest because I didn’t agree with it from what was conveyed to me about the city wanting some kind of guarantee if it gave money.

It is invasive to crash out at the mayors home.

I find it a violation as well of one’s privacy when the media is pre-invited in mass to ensure lots of press. One had to choose to either participate in this protest or depart for the duration of the protest. It wasn’t painted out as something you can do or not do. They are getting so desperate to try to get the needed bus fare that civil rights even among their own kind seem marginal.

But you guys need to know – Many of the people at the tent city 4 had or even have some kind of job. Some were barely hanging on before a cut back or lay off or injury or personal crisis. Some point blank can’t work due to disability. Some work for pathetic wages – Low wages that ensure that the local companies maintain their hefty profits.

Sure some – a few –don’t want to work or do much in life- but by far I assure you most of the people at least at TC 4 are trying to get back up on their own feet in their own way. Some are trying to live on about $700 a month disability – some on less than $350 a month GAU. Some have nothing.

I have personally helped several people who were job hunting find interview outfits from the donations, I will always remember the day just two weeks ago when I helped a woman get a pair of woman’s black pants – black shoes and men’s white cotton shirt so she could go to her very first day of work at the old peoples home. It really touched my heart. I wish who ever the kind people were who donated these clothes could have been there to see what a difference their gifts made in a homeless woman’s life just one day later! No middle man – just a person giving a gift that directly helped a homeless person go to work ~~Wow – amazing – thank you wonderful eastside people~!

There is a real need for the bus passes and for additional monies for the budget. While the means are kind of objectionable –the need is actually very very real. Maybe trying to go the normal route for so long the Share people felt was useless. They have a few extremists I do admit.

I suggest the following off the wall solution:
Metro – King county and Share come together for a creative win -win solution to the bus ticket crisis.

Right now Share is violating the potential freedom of religion of its members by its forced church attendance at the churches of its ( Share’s) choice with credit only given to 2-3 person each week for each selected church. The community credit period is every 2 weeks. It is an unneeded stress on the share members and seems a mere power play the way it is implemented.

Not to mention that – Attendance of religious based services should not be required of any organization that is receiving any kind of state funding –of any kind. It is a violation of the seperation of church and state.

Why not let faith and God be a personal choice as God and America intended and use community credit perdiod to really make a difference in the community!

Everyone who rides the buses sees clearly they seem to be hardly cleaning the inside of the buses for quite some time now. This creates a poor image of Seattle – can spread illness ( esp during Flu season) and encourages a feeling of depression on the buses.

What if Metro – City County and Share all got together on board for a project to help make a difference in this! What if Share provided a certain number of volunteers 1-2 times a week that Metro could use to help really clean the inside those buses for a few hours each week? Sure they might take a lot longer than regular workers – but shit they can’t do any worse than the dirty buses we all ride in now!

What if Metro in exchange agreed to give deep discount to Share for volunteer work given and the city picked up the little bill left and they gave a majority of the Share residents in the system over 2 weeks an Orcas bus pass instead of just 2 bus tickets a day. And the city could give 1 month worth of bus ticket money asap with understanding the volunteer thing has to be running in a month.. I think such a notion might go over very well with a foundation such as the Bill and Melinda gates foundation as well if the city refuses to help out with costs associated with setting such a thing up.

Imagine a world for the homeless person trying to get on their feet – where they didn’t have to juggle do they use their bus pass to go to a medical appt – to attend a share meeting or go to church or to take a shower at the wellness center or to look for a job – imagine a world where they could get it all done!

The more that homeless people can get done to rebuild their lives – to find jobs – to get their health in order – and to build social networks in their lives –the quicker they can be more able to fully participate in society.

And for those who have disabilities -I suggest the city or share step up to help these parties get set up for the handicapped passes and get them then set up with Orcas disabled pass pronto – the cost savings would be immense. Every disabled person you don’t have to give daily passes to saves Share money!

Share could also use similar notion maybe using volunteers in some kind of barter exchange for credit maybe toward printing, pest control, and other potentially needed services. Then maybe they could abolish their forced “donations” of an item with receipt valued at least at $25 each month or $30 gift card from each tent city resident during the summer months where they charge people to stay in their free shelters. They say they use these donations to fund their Fall Harvest.

I suspect if they let the community know of the need for items to go to Fall Harvest auction and if they let their amazing homeless artists actually make items and art to donate willingly – they could have the most amazing auction ever!! Some of the people at the tent cities have incredible artistics skills!

Tough times just mean getting more creative with one’s resources. Let’s all work together to get more done for everyone! The city is not the enemy – The homeless are not the enemy.

By the way, in addition to comments on stories and discussions in the WSB Forums section, we are always willing to consider what the print business calls “op-ed” pieces if you want to kick off a discussion about something – inquire at editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks! 12:16 PM P.S. In case you were wondering – the SHARE protesters will NOT be back at the mayor’s house tonight – they have announced plans for a sleep-out outside Councilmember Tim Burgess‘s home in Queen Anne.

18 Replies to ""The city is not the enemy - the homeless are not the enemy""

  • jsrekd September 29, 2009 (10:57 am)

    Well written and thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  • Kat September 29, 2009 (11:17 am)

    I love the idea of folks exchanging volunteer time for bus passes – also, setting up an “Etsy” type site for homeless artists looking to sell items.

    Great thoughts here – hope the right people read it.

  • celeste17 September 29, 2009 (11:58 am)

    I felt that this was well written and that I agree with what the writer has suggested. I know I would gladly go to an art show that featured work from the homeless and if I saw something that appealed to me I would buy it.

  • West Seattle September 29, 2009 (12:03 pm)

    “exchanging volunteer time for bus passes”

    Sounds like hard work.

  • West Seattle September 29, 2009 (12:04 pm)

    I drove back from yakima this weekend and practically every farm had help wanted signs out…..how about a bus ticket over the mountains?

  • Jen McIntyre September 29, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    Thank you for this letter – it helped me understand the issue better. Per the above farm comment – I wonder – are there resources to connect SHARE members to jobs outside the area?

  • Sue September 29, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    How are they getting to Queen Anne?

  • WSB September 29, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    Sue – here’s what the SHARE news release says:
    >>Once again, tonight the homeless people of SHARE will try to ride the bus to their safe place (if the bus driver agrees-we are keeping a tally of the rides in order to reimburse METRO as soon as possible). Last night all neighborhood bus shelters except one got their shelters WITHOUT bus tickets. Thank you bus drivers! If the people cannot get to their shelters they will go to City Councilman Burgess’ street and again peacefully protest outside of his house.<< . Doesn't exactly say how they got there. There was a van involved in last night's setup here in WS.

  • nuni September 29, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    Maybe they could also add their volunteer work to their resume/application to help them get a job.

  • Mike September 29, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    “Maybe they could also add their volunteer work to their resume/application to help them get a job.”

    The state provides this service already, you just have to be willing to use it.

  • KT September 29, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    Maybe the people shuttling them all over the city to sleep in front of politicians houses could drive shuttle them to their “safe place”.

  • jiggers September 29, 2009 (1:30 pm)


  • Informed September 29, 2009 (3:42 pm)

    I’d love to be corrected if someone knows what I’m missing here.

    The protest is “supposedly” for an increase of $50k to the grant from the City. If I understand correctly, the City has offered this with the requirement that the shelters cannot be closed.

    In my view, since the purpose of this is for transportation between shelters and services, if the shelters were closed the grant for the bus passes would be unnecessary (there would be no need to transport someone to or from a shelter if that shelter is not there).

    SHARE is organizing this protest, but I would think that it would be more appropriate to protest SHARE refusing the money.

    Seems like there is some key political piece of info that’s missing.

  • thejunctionhobo September 29, 2009 (4:47 pm)

    I would stay at the Union Gospel Mission if they didn’t require for you to sit through an hour of listening to some dope shove religion down your throat every night for a matt to sleep on and to get out of the rain.

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 September 29, 2009 (11:02 pm)

    Well . . . its not really volunteering if you get money (or bus tickets) for working on the project. That is a job.

  • SorryButNo September 30, 2009 (11:15 am)

    SHARE/WHEEL has sadly become a haven for scam artists and con men. They do nothing in the way of helping individuals move out of their circumstances, and actively encourage its residents to remain homeless. Though I do not doubt that there are people in the shelters and tents that are truly trying to get out, they have become a minority, and are being conned into supporting the political goals of Scott Morrow.

    I have long ago stopped supporting this group, and focus my resources on those that provide real services.

  • jiggers September 30, 2009 (1:22 pm)

    To make a point, sometimes they have to get politically involve. This is how they(SHARE) do it their way. Teachers are no better at putting the city under stress when they go on strike the first day of the school year. Why don’t they strike at the beginning of summertime?…lol

  • D kramer October 7, 2009 (2:31 pm)

    To Jen McIntyre and the rest of you on this board:

    So far I have to find my own resources. Using Worksource Seattle to find job postings and trying to talk to the other job searchers to find what leads they have heard of that might work for me. I am scheduled to take a Power Point class the end of the month at the Seattle Worksource center.

    Someone posted on the internet on another site that they had heard that people at the tent cities would not work for $10 and hr and I want to say that is utter Bull.

    This image that people have that homeless people are all lazy and don’t want to work is not accurate.

    Sure it is easiest to see the homeless person who doesn’t work – They are standing around Seattle all day! But we all know the types. How many of us have had those coworkers who would rather stand by the coffee maker all day than work? Doesn’t mean most of us at work aren’t working at our jobs. There will always be those who choose to be lazy no matter where they are.

    If anyone has nail polish or shampoos, hair products like hairspray – mouse- deep conditioner or samples from your hotel stays that you aren’t using – did you know you can donate such things to the Women’s Wellness Center in Seattle?

    Why let things things go to waste – you can help some lady be able to be presentable to get that job.

    Women’s Welleness Center
    1900 2nd Ave
    Seattle, WA 98101
    (206) 256-0665‎

    And if you have women’s attire that is in good condition that you can no longer squeeze into or that falls off you now that you have lost your extra weight – you may be able to help a lady get a job – while you get a tax write off.

    How – by donating such items to Dress for Success..


    Dress for Success helps low income women have that sharp looking job interview outfit to get the job to help herself up out of poverty. Just cleaning out your closet of the clothes that don’t fit any more you can help a woman in need help herself! And you get extra closet space – feel less guilty about the clothes you aren’t using any more and get a tax right off! You don’t need to give a lot –to help a lot!

    I wore my Dress Success suit to a job interview just two weeks ago – I didn’t get the job – but the suit gives me a fighting chance! Thank you Dress for Success Seattle =)

    For those who may want to hire someone who might really like to do some yard work – weeding – painting- moving or whatever – Feel free to stop by the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church at 10021 NE 124th Street Kirkland until 30 October 2009 and talk to the EC desk about putting up a posting.

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