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Science fiction writer and mathematician

Homelessness Update 2022

Ravenna Park2

April 2022

With the recent election of Mayor Bruce Harrell and selected Seattle City Council members, along with the launch of the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority with CEO Marc Dones at the helm, we are seeing a number of positive systemic changes to address the ongoing and complex problems of homelessness in our community.

While we are not yet out of COVID-19 pandemic considerations, here are some updates to the information below.

UPDATE – current City and County response to homelessness

What is being done now about homeless camps?
– Camps are being addressed on an individual basis and removals are occurring, typically with some weeks’ lead time of on-site outreach, the objective being to help campers move into supportive shelters and/or housing, rather than moving to another location on the street.
– Reporting camps and trash dumps via the Find It Fix It app or the City’s Customer Service Bureau, is still important for the City to be informed of camp locations and conditions.

What is the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (RHA) and how does it impact homelessness?
– The Regional Homelessness Authority was created as a one-stop source of assistance and programs to resolve homelessness. The RHA will also coordinate homelessness response across the county and not just in individual cities.

What about parks and green spaces? Does the City even care about keeping them open for all users?
– The City has consistently emphasized the importance of parks and green spaces being accessible and available for all users, in City Council meetings earlier this year.

What is the good news? Is there relief on the horizon?
– The new CEO of the Regional Homelessness Authority, Marc Dones, has extensive experience with problems of homelessness and strategies in cities all over the country. Marc is a visionary who has the ability to inspire and bring people together around this important cause, and Marc has already created “quick-start” strategies for the RHA to reduce or eliminate bottlenecks, and for programs that are centered around the needs of those living outdoors.
– The Mayor’s office, In reporting to the City Council meetings earlier this year, has consistently emphasized the critical importance of parks and green spaces being accessible and available for all users.
– Mayor Bruce Harrell has instructed his departments to work closely together on decision-making for addressing homeless camps, instead of leaving it to individual departments to make separate decisions, as was done under the previous administration.
– Increased funding is pouring into supportive, secure shelter, to provide those living unsheltered with additional options, something that has been woefully lacking for a long time. These include hotel-based lodgings and Tiny House Villages, among other types of shelter.
– The Just Care program, an outreach program organized by the Public Defender’s Office and other organizations, has been the main organization to address the “Courthouse Park” encampment last fall, and they are in talks to expand their programs, which help those outdoors go into shelter with an effective and compassionate approach.

What can we do?
– It’s still important to report unauthorized encampments, trash and needles, etc. We are the “eyes and ears” of our community, and reporting the problems you see help keep our neighborhood safe, and on the “radar” of the City’s clean-up team. You can use the Find It Fix It app, or report via the City’s Customer Service Bureau webpage.
– Please report criminal activity to the police, the statistics from our calls bring attention to the level of criminal incidents in our neighborhood. – Call 911, and if the incident is in progress, ask for the responding officer to contact you with information on what occurred. For property crime or car prowls, you can report them online.
– Do you have an opinion on what the City should do about homelessness? You are always encouraged to send your thoughts and ideas to our elected representatives. They have paid attention in the past to our concerns, and our Ravenna neighborhood has an established reputation for being engaged and active in advocating for the end ot homelessness and the protection of our neighborhood. – Contact information below!

If you have an opinion, please email the Mayor and the City Council:
– Mayor Bruce Harrell,
– Seattle City Council,
– Alex Pedersen, District 4 Council Member,
– City Council President Deborah Juarez,

Public Safety and Homelessness Update (under COVID-19 quarantine)

September 8, 2020

Public safety, and the problems of homelessness, are on everyone’s minds. Andrew Lewis, chair of the City Council’s Public Safety committee held two Town Halls in July and August, “Public Safety” on 7/28/2020 and “Homelessness Outreach” on 8/19/2020. The update below includes information from the city and from the two town halls.

Videos here:,

FAQ – update on Public Safety, Homelessness, and City of Seattle (under COVID-19)

What is the city doing about homeless camps in the COVID-19 quarantine?
– No removals with very rare exceptions for “extreme” situations – e.g., fully blocking a sidewalk or business entrance, etc.
– Outreach to individual camps with trash pickup-removal and attempts to provide social worker support.
– Recording encampment location and relevant site information, through the FIFI and other reporting methods, for outreach efforts and for future possible actions after quarantine.

Is the city still doing illegal dumping and needle pick-ups?
– Yes, as long as it’s not co-located with a homeless encampment.

Is there an announced plan or time frame for getting homeless into transitional housing, either during quarantine or after quarantine is lifted?
– Not that we know of.

Is the Nav Team defunded?
– Yes, the city council voted to cut funding for the city’s Navigational Team.

Does that mean there will be no outreach to address homeless camps now?
– Seattle Police officers who are in the Community Policing Team (CPT) and the bicycle patrol officers can still contact Homeless camps; however, no removals are done except as described above.
– The Seattle Fire Department has a “Health One” pilot program, consisting of a single van-based team of two EMTS and a social worker, who provide assistance and follow-up to homeless campers. This team makes extended-time visits (non-emergency) with homeless campers to provided what is needed, e.g., obtaining medical appointments and other support.

Does Health One replace the Nav Team?
– There is currently only one vehicle and team in the Health One pilot. If successful the program will considered for expansion as a non-police-based response to homelessness support.
– It only operates downtown and with limited hours right now. It would need to be “scaled up” to be city-wide and with expanded hours.

What about cutting the police budget by 50%? What will that do to public safety? (from the 7/28 Town Hall on Public Safety)
The following is a response from CM Andrew Lewis to a question from the public:
– Rationale: 56% of all 911 calls are non-criminal
– Nav Team funding is already 10% of SPD budget
– Hypothesis – could non-criminal calls get a medical & social services/outreach response?
– Funding from SPD would be diverted to non-police response teams – not clear what that would look like
– No specific explanations for how criminal activity in homeless camps would be addressed in the presence of reduced funding for police

What is being done to help those who are homeless? (From the 8/19 Town Hall on Homelessness Outreach)
– Various organizations currently provide services to the homeless – Chief Seattle Club supporting native people who are homeless, LIHI’s tiny house villages (Low-Income Housing Initiative), REACH substance treatment and mental illness services, Urban League provides assistance to homeless people of color
– Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) – provides a variety of services, including temporary housing and shelters, crisis support, etc.
– Many organizations are fundraising and working to build permanent housing for homeless
– Building housing takes time, some cities provide hotel vouchers for temporary housing (e.g., New York)
– Those with behavior health issues do better in a group situation than on their own in a hotel room, e.g., a group residence
– According to the DESÇ the homeless do best to exit homelessness when placed in housing with “wraparound” services (e.g., addiction and mental illness services, medical support, etc.)

What about encampments that are unsafe? What about excessive trash in parks and homeless camps preventing access to parks? (Town Hall questions submitted from the public)
– Depending on the specific situation, law enforcement response would still be appropriate
– No specifics on this
– Law enforcement has limited interaction in homeless camps currently
– District 4 CM Alex Pedersen’s office has been largely unresponsive to constituents’ reports of crime, particularly in the area of Cowen Park and Olga Park (15th NE & Ravenna Blvd)

What’s going on with the current City Council and Mayor-office funding for homelessness and housing for the homeless?
– The city council passed “Jump Start” legislation in July, a business tax for both economic relief and for homelessness
– There is no clear spending plan on this legislation
– The mayor announced building 600 new units of permanent homeless housing – timeline, end of 2021
– No announced plan on addressing homelessness in the meantime except to cut the Nav Team funding

Right now the city has no announced comprehensive plan to deal with the many homeless encampments on streets and in parks. The situation continues to escalate the longer the quarantine goes on. Many people believe the situation is not safe for those living outdoors AND for those living in neighborhood homes.

If you have an opinion, please email the Mayor and the City Council:
– Mayor Durkan,
– Seattle City Council,
– Alex Pedersen, District 4 Council Member,
– City Council President Lorena González,