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PUT US TO WORK. What other questions do you have about homelessness in Seattle? Let us know here and we (or our project partners at Crosscut, GeekWire, KUOW, Patch, ParentMap, Real Change, or Seattlepi.com) might report out your answer.
When reader Craig Danz asked us if Seattle gets an influx of homeless folks attracted to better services, we saw an assumption in there that’s worth exploring: Does Seattle have homeless services worth moving here for? And does that motivate some folks — even if not an “influx” of them — to come? Let’s begin by looking at a (very limited) set of data…
WHY DO PEOPLE COME HERE? Some folks do come to the Seattle area to access homeless services. How many? Let’s look again at All Home King County’s report. They asked 137 folks without housing who are not originally from King County why they moved here. One-fifth of them — so, 28 people — said they came to access homeless services. More of them — nearly a third — said they came here looking for work. Another near-fifth said they came because their family and friends were here. Yes, this is a very small sample group — too small to draw any definitive conclusions. But it gives us a glimpse, albeit a narrow one, at what might motivate folks to move here.
ARE PEOPLE DRAWN TO OUR HOMELESS SERVICES? It would appear so. To take one local example, a man named Teman Crawford told KIRO in November that he came to Seattle from California because his friends called it the “land of opportunity.”
“There’s a lot of angels up here. A lot of love. People buying people brand new tents, giving them blankets, putting food in their stomachs,” he said.
Daniel Malone, executive director of Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Service Center, acknowledged that Seattle’s perceived to be friendly toward people experiencing homelessness.
“On the one hand, we have statements of support for caring for people who are struggling,” he told us. “On the other hand, the conditions people are living in are the opposite of friendly.”
ARE OUR SERVICES BETTER THAN OTHER PLACES’? As a big progressive city, Seattle has resources other places don’t to build up an ecosystem of homeless services. (How well we’ve done that so far depends on who you ask.) For context: 77 organizations in King County help provide shelter and housing, and “that’s 25 more than the city of San Francisco, and more than the entire state of Montana,” The Seattle Times reports. To see a list of many of them, check out Real Change’s Emerald City Resource Guide.
Annalee Schafranek, public relations manager at YWCA Seattle, said it makes sense why anyone looking for services would move here. Some services simply don’t exist where some people were living, she said.
“If you needed to go see a doctor and there wasn’t a doctor in your city, but there was one a city over, you’re going to go to that doctor because your need doesn’t go away,” she said. “It’s not that you’re exploiting that other city’s resource. That’s just where the resource you need is.”
BUT THERE’S A PROBLEM: We still don’t have enough resources to keep up with the number of people struggling in our region, homeless advocates say. And folks who do come to Seattle for our homeless services might be disappointed.
“You might find yourself with seemingly little opportunity because there’s a backlog of people waiting for the same thing [you are],” Daniel said.
Even for those who can get shelter access, some people won’t go because they won’t be let in with their partners or pets, said Eric Bronson, YWCA Seattle’s digital advocacy manager.
“They’re going to stay on the street because that’s the only thing getting them through life or that partner is the person they rely on for their safety and they love [them],” Eric said.
Thanks to reader Craig Danz for asking this question, and to the hundreds of you who have submitted your own. Have another question you’d like us or our project partners at GeekWire, Crosscut, Seattlepi.com, Real Change, Patch, ParentMap, and KUOW to tackle? Send them in here.
NOW HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY
How do we stack up? We’re not the only ones reporting out answers to locals’ questions on homelessness this week. Our project partners at GeekWire dug deep to answer this one: “What are other cities doing that works and why aren’t we as effective?” Reporter Monica Nickelsburg looked at a handful of cities all trying to take on homelessness with fresh ideas. One of those was Columbus, Ohio. It began building permanent supportive house nearly 20 years ago, manages its city’s homeless services through a single Community Shelter Board, and gives struggling locals low-barrier housing before addressing other causes of their homelessness. One of the big things Seattle is missing: “strong, coordinated leadership in the homeless response,” Monica wrote. 🏙 (GeekWire)
Stamped out. Your ballot for the August 7 primary election is on its way to your mailboxes soon. One new thing you might notice? You won’t need a stamp to vote anymore. After King County passed a prepaid postage plan this spring, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee made ballot postage free in all of our state’s 39 counties. 🗳 (The Seattle Times)
Another local #MeToo moment. David Meinert is a local entrepreneur who’s become well known in the music, restaurant, and business worlds. Now five women are accusing him of alleged sexual misconduct. The alleged incidents range from unwanted kissing and touching to rape, and took place between 2001 and 2015. Meinert, who we recently interviewed for a story about one of his restaurants, the 5 Point Cafe, told KUOW reporter Sydney Brownstone that he had been “pushy or handsy” in the past, but denied these five specific allegations. (KUOW)
New mural(s) alert! SoDo Track is a glorious stretch of murals along the light rail tracks — and it’s nearly done. Since 2016, 62 artists have been teaming up to brighten the industrial corridor with murals showing everything from lifelike animals and rhythmic swirls to portraits of Chief Seattle’s grandchildren. The artists will be working on their masterpieces through July 25. Want to see ‘em for yourself? Head to SoDo Track’s open house tomorrow, check out our mural map here, or, ya know, just hop on the light rail. 😉 (Seattle Met)
A quick clarification: Yesterday we passed on some fascinating numbers around King County’s changing demographics. We mentioned 32,700 “newbies” who’d arrived between 2016 and 2017. But to be clear, that number describes net population change: so, the number of folks who arrived (or were born here) minus the folks who left (or died). Thanks to reader Suzanne Walsh for flagging this!
HERE'S WHAT'S COMING UP
🍳 Saturday: Give high-fives to local mentors at Big Brothers Big Sippers Brunch, a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound (Capitol Hill) — 🆕
💰 Wednesday, July 25: Get the basics on bookkeeping, local tax deadlines, and more at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)
🍸 Friday, July 27: Dance, drink, and discover at Theory, Pacific Science Center’s big summer bash. (Queen Anne)
🎈 Fly your rainbow flag at Pride on the beach (West Seattle)
🚗 Gawk at hundreds of cool cars at Wekfest (SoDo)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership. Is an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.
WANT A WAY TO GIVE BACK?
The next Seattle/King County Clinic, a huge annual event that gave free healthcare to 16,300 locals last year, needs help with their next event September 20-23. Want to volunteer? Here’s where you can sign up. Thanks to reader Sarah Schacht for the tip! 💪
TGIF, all. — The Evergrey