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January 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm #774823
From Jerry DeGrieck at the Mayor’s office.
(I had forwarded Jan’s question about eviction to him.)
We’ll provide a response next week, but you can be sure that the City will NOT “simply give them a 2 week notice, and dump them out on the streets”
Also, we have been working to keep the greenbelt free of encampments. Please encourage people to continue to report any encampment activity in the greenbelt. Thanks.
Senior Policy Advisor to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
Human Services, Health, Education, Housing, and Financial Empowerment
This is good info, with more to come.January 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm #774824
I have mixed feelings about the encampments, just as I have mixed feelings about Nickelsville.
On the one hand, I know there are some good people living there, and I would hate to see ANYONE just tossed out into the elements to die.
On the other hand, I know that many of the people living in the woods do have better options, but they have simply chosen not to take them.
I befriended one guy in camp, for instance, and got to know his situation pretty well. He’s a young, likeable, and extremely intelligent guy. He’s college educated and would almost certainly be employable, but for one thing: He’s a dual-diagnosis* case, and he refuses to get help.
Several months after I met him, I learned that he’d been barred for coming back late at night drunk and disorderly, and was now living in the woods.
I saw him at the food bank a couple months after that, and tried to give him a gentle nudge.
“Why don’t you go live with your dad in [state in the Deep South]?” I said. “You told me you had an open invitation to go back home.”
“Are you kidding?” he snapped. “Have you ever been to [state in the Deep South]? It’s 110 degrees there in the summer. I’d rather live outdoors here than indoors there.”
So, ok. He can’t stay in camp because he’s a rule breaker. He won’t get treatment for his illness, and he won’t accept offers of help from his dad.
Do we just have to accept this situation and let this guy live in our public parks indefinitely? Or do we have some other options?
*mental illness + addictionJanuary 21, 2013 at 10:59 pm #774825
I’ve recently heard that some have left Nickelsville since the major clean-up started because they didn’ want to help. Some barred and some by choice. Its their choice and they will just have to deal with it. They’re(by my guess) probably the same ones who refuse help or shelter. The count is down to about 60 people now, I’m told. They’ve been working very hard with many volunteers in the past couple weeks to make the area better. I have not had to go there with lunch so have not actually seen the results. I follow Jans thoughts on the Greenbelts.January 29, 2013 at 4:33 am #774826
In the coming days and weeks – hopefully not months or, God forbid, years – I’m going to have some harsh words for the Mayor and City Council on this thread.
Please don’t take my criticisms the wrong way. I actually like our elected leaders and think that they generally do a good job. However, dealing with the problem of Nickelsville is one area in which our leaders have thus far failed to grok. And it’s starting to look like they never will grok either, without an official grokmeister to show them how.
That’s where I come in.
And maybe you do, too.
We shall see.
Nickelsville Photo by Kevin McClinticJanuary 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm #774827
that photo is what all of Nickelsville should look like.
sadly, that is not the realityJanuary 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm #774828
–Yes and no.
Yes, Nickelsville should ALL look like this . . . but ONLY if it is LEGAL and City has oversight.
Given that City never approved it, however, and given that the City now appears to be moving toward eviction, more shacks standing there just means more shacks that may ulitmately have to be torn down. So in that sense, I don’t think it was good idea to build the shacks.
In my opinion, it would have been better for the shack-building volunteers to have put their energy into working with the City to find a long-term solution. Same goes for SHARE/WHEEL.
SHARE/WHEEL apparently felt that they could take ownership of public property simply by taking possession and building on it, but it doesn’t work that way, as we shall soon see . . .January 30, 2013 at 5:48 am #774829
they’re built to be portable. If you asked down there, you’d know that. That’s why they’re built with hinges, etc. If NV moves , the “shacks” go with it.January 30, 2013 at 9:42 am #774830
@Jan – portability was the original intent, but from what I have seen / heard, each unit is quite unique. Sadly, I doubt they are as portable as we / they would like to believe.
History does seem to repeat itself, and if you do a little research, the Seattle Fire Department was called upon to burn the shanty town called Hooverville some 80 years ago.
Hopefully that will NOT happen in this case.
Even sadder, is that even now – 80 years later we STILL do not have a good answer for homelessness!
.January 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm #774831
Portability, shmortability. If there’s nowhere to port them to, they ain’t a-portin.
And Jan, please cool it with the rudeness. I’m willing to cut you some slack, but it’s not infinite. Thank you.January 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm #774832
“In my opinion, it would have been better for the shack-building volunteers to have put their energy into working with the City to find a long-term solution. Same goes for SHARE/WHEEL”
You make a lot of assumptions.
Why would you assume that intelligent people didn’t try to work with city hall, with SHARE and with the entire coalition of homeless activists?
when you come late to the party you often miss people who were there before you.January 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm #774833
“And Jan, please cool it with the rudeness. I’m willing to cut you some slack, but it’s not infinite. Thank you.”
DBP. cool it with the rudeness. I’m willing to cut you some slack but it’s not infinite. Thank you.
remember when you refused to become involved in “the politics”. Had you done so you would have discovered that some of those you dismiss as being naive were hip deep in the politics of homelessness…
and not just those confined within the borders of Nickelsville.
The simple sturdy sleeping structures are all designed to disassemble and flatpack…
where the money is going to come from to move them is a much better question than whether they are all capable of being moved.January 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm #774834
gee, DBP, thanks for cutting me some slack. It goes both ways. You come on here as some kind of expert about NV, like you have close ties with them and the city. I simply think that if you’re going to spout off about something that you be knowledgeable about it, I suppose. You begrudge them those “shacks”? A chance to be out of a tent? Many of them donated by local churches, etc?
Do I think NV is acceptable? No, not really. But the alternative? Under a bridge? Because you and I both know there are no shelter resources for all these people, and we shouldn’t pretend differently. If there was, these people would be there.January 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm #774835
DBP will tell you there are shelter resources …
and on any given night it is possible that there are empty shelter beds in our city’s shelter system
but.. they are not 24 hour facilities where residents can safely leave their belongings to go look for resources or jobs and they don’t allow families to stay together or pets.
ideally that 24 hour housing would be run in such a way that it connects residents with resources and helps them transition into society by finding housing and/or jobs…
that isn’t Nickelsville…
but until a better alternative comes along, it does meet the needs of those who don’t fit into the current transient homeless model… the one the city caters to.
the only shelter i know of in King County that actually meets that standard is the group now filing for 501c3 status that broke off from the eastside SHARE tent city a couple of months or so ago.. Camp Unity.
As you said, we need a lot better alternatives.January 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm #774836
Okay, I’ve been trying to stay out of this, as it hits close to home, but this…..
but until a better alternative comes along, it does meet the needs of those who don’t fit into the current transient homeless model..
…..is spot on, and is the message that I have been trying to convey for nearly two years.
NV is not the ideal place for kids.
NV is not the ideal place for senior citizens.
NV is not the ideal place for people with illnesses, or compromised immune systems.
NV is not the ideal place for young, healthy, strapping adults.
NV is not the ideal place for pets.
But, it is just about the only option that some people have, other than living under a bridge.
Being an adult male with no street smarts, (my health issues aside), I would have had difficulty surviving in an “under a bridge”, or in “The Jungle” type of living scenario.
Imagine a woman (who are generally more vulnerable to sexual attack), with no street smarts trying to survive those conditions. Imagine children, trying to survive those conditions.
Indoor shelters, as they now exist, are not always an option. Many are overcrowded, bedbug, lice, and crabs infested, and many, as Jo mentions above, do not allow access, and/or storage of personal belongings 24 hours a day.
Until a safe, indoor alternative that largely addresses these issues is created, Nickelsville, warts and all, (including the big, politicizing wart known as SHARE/WHEEL) is a viable solution, and in many ways the only solution…
MikeJanuary 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm #774837
OK, Jan. You wanna stack your commitment or knowledge of homeless issues up against mine? Go for it.
You’ve been down to NV how many times now?
You’ve put in how many hours talking with the Mayor and City Council about this?
Please feel free to disagree with any of my conclusions as vehemently as you like. But watch it with the personal insults, ‘cuz you’re playing with fire there.January 31, 2013 at 12:03 am #774838
Please understand that there are shades of grey here. It’s not a question of “either NV or the street” for everyone who’s down there. There are some people who don’t BELONG there because they’re doing illegal things that are putting everyone else there at risk. There are other people who don’t HAVE to be there. These are people who could get work and housing but simply choose not to.
I know who some of these people are and so do other NV supporters. The difference between us is that I’m willing to discuss these things, even at the risk of inciting people who just hate NV on principle. I can deal with the haters, but I’m not going to ignore very real problems with this place just to keep the haters at bay.
And I’m not going to blame SHARE for all the problems down there either, ‘cuz that’s scapegoating. SHARE is over their heads on this thing, and the City is using them as a way to avoid making the tough choices that need to be made.
NV is not just “not the ideal place” for children. It is not ANY place for children.
There are people with active drug addictions at NV. There are convicted felons there. There are people with serious mental illness. There are rats. There is mud. There is weather . . .
Any child at NV is being exposed to serious and unnecessary risks by the parents. This is what I’ve been saying from the beginning, and I’ve been proven right from the beginning. Even the City acknowledges this, though belatedly, and they are now bending every effort to keep kids out of there.
In some cases, children have been removed from their parents’ custody, which is more support for what I’ve been saying: Any parent who has a child at NV is making very bad choices.
If people come on here a thousand times and say that kids have nowhere else to go but NV, I will come on here a thousand and one and say: No. That’s wrong!January 31, 2013 at 12:20 am #774839
“I know who some of these people are and so do other NV supporters. The difference between us is that I’m willing to discuss these things, even at the risk of inciting people who just hate NV on principle. I can deal with the haters, but I’m not going to ignore very real problems with this place just to keep the haters at bay.”
here we go again with the assumptions.
Would it surprise you to know that most of the people I have met who have actually spent time working with the past and current residents of Nickelsville were very well aware that there are good many people who pass through that camp who can’t be helped to move on for one reason or another?
and that we pretty much knew that from day one and still chose to volunteer?
“There are people with active drug addictions at NV. There are convicted felons there. There are people with serious mental illness. There is weather. There are rats”
yes, there are.
Do those people not deserve food and shelter David?
and what of those who are not druggies or felons or.. and still literally have no other place to go?
“In some cases, children have been removed from their parents’ custody, which is more support for what I’ve been saying: Any parent who has a young child at NV is making very bad choices.
If people come on here a thousand times and say that kids have nowhere else to go but NV, I will come on here a thousand and one and say: No. That’s wrong!”
that depends upon your definition of a place to go, doesn’t it. If you include foster care, you are correct. However, if you include a place to go indoors with both parents.. not so much.
the days when a homeless person had to spend every day on the phone calling 40+ different facilities looking for space may be over.. but there is still no guarantee that the two or three calls they still make will find them space… and definitely not that it will find them space together.
The city is just now beginning to make an effort to keep homeless families together.. including both parents.
As far as i know, they haven’t changed their definition of family to include pets…January 31, 2013 at 12:26 am #774840
Hypothetical, (but highly possible) scenario:
Right at this very moment, a family with child(ren) is being forced out of there home here in the Seattle area.
For whatever reason, (and the reason doesn’t/wouldn’t really matter right now) they have been unable to arrange relatively safe, clean, housing/shelter. Basically the only choices left are “under a bridge”, in “The Jungle”, in a greenbelt, or NV/a Tent City?
What is the best of those not so wonderful options?
MikeJanuary 31, 2013 at 12:29 am #774841
I get that for some reason you feel attacked. But that is no excuse for your comments to Jan.
You don’t have to be able to visit Nickelsville every day to have a good idea what happens in the camp… especially not when you are counsel to friends who do.
i can only tell you that the “objective” viewpoint of someone who visits the camp and “talks’ with city hall is very different than the viewpoint of someone who becomes involved in the lives of the people who live there… whether they ever meet them or not.
Because of health issues, I have not been in camp more than a few times in the last few months myself ..
but I still know what goes on there on a day to day basis because of the friends i have made who still live there and elsewhere in our community.
Miws was lucky to have a network of friends who supported him when he couldn’t get a bed in a safe shelter and he couldn’t survive the cold.
not all homeless people are so lucky…
whether you think them to be deserving or not.
without shelter.. people die.
I can tell you for a fact that Jan has a much better understanding of that reality than you do.
You owe her an apology.January 31, 2013 at 1:07 am #774842
DBP…you know damned well that I can’t hang at NV because of my immune system right now. But, how dare you be condescending to me. And that’s what you’re doing…throwing it in my face and being condescending, and making it personal. I don’t give a damn how many times you’ve written the mayor or the city council. I don’t give a damn how much you think you do at NV. I don’t give a damn about how much more knowledgeable you think you are. That’s not the point. You are overbearing in this instance, and being a know it all. Think inward my friend. I have done nothing to you, except make a statement ( a right one) that the buildings at NV are portable. I never claimed to be an expert. Boy, I really stepped on someones toes…and ego, it seems…
I don’t really need an apology. I just want DPB to think about his attitude, reflect on what he says. Oh, and one last thing. I may be ill, but it doesn’t define me. You cut me some slack because? Because of my delicate condition? Really?January 31, 2013 at 1:20 am #774843
I will say this. In a perfect world, NV (or other tent cities) would not exist. This is far from a perfect world. Those families who have their kids ripped from them are probably shiftless anyway, a little less human than us, probably don’t love their kids as much, so it’s OK to take the kids away. Yeah. Our society still equates ” homelessness” with “bums”, “uneducated”, “ne’er-do-wells” , “druggies”, less deserving than the rest of us. We still in general treat these like, as Gen. Hill stated in one place, people who should be thrown on a train and run out of town. It hurts my heart to see that attitude towards one’s fellow human being – out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. I keep saying, there but for the grace, go I. I probably know that more than others on here. Here’s hoping for a more perfect world.February 2, 2013 at 4:18 am #774844
NV needs to go, and sooner rather than later.
The place has outlived it’s usefulness (if there ever was any) and the city needs to evict them.
This is an entertaining thread reading all the so-called NV experts arguing with each other.February 2, 2013 at 5:24 am #774845
so, JimmyG, where do you want the people encamped there right now to go? If you want NV to be evicted, offer a solution, beside just kicking them out…February 2, 2013 at 5:25 am #774846
oh, and, JimmyG, have you met MIWS yet? He lived in NV for a while, but has been on the WSB forums for much longer than that..February 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm #774847
My opinion is that it’s not the city’s job to find the residents of NV a place to camp, nor is it my job to come up with solutions for every ill that affects society.
The other charitable causes I choose to support through my time, or issues I work to address through political advocacy, or groups I donate cash to that aren’t NV doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on NV.
Whether I’ve met MIWS or not has nothing to do with the topic.
I feel empathy for anyone that is homeless.
It should be noted, that some of the self-righteous posters here on WSB that seem to think they “own” the issue of NV put many of us off from ever wanting to help out.
I know this from conversations I’ve had with friends and neighbors here in WS.
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