I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but I heard that the last homeless count found at least 1,600 people trying to survive outside of Seattle’s ridiculously stretched homeless shelter system. Where do these people shit? In the woods?
Dear Grossed Out,
Seattle is a partner in the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County, and has committed to no longer simply manage the problem but to put an end to it.
Since this effort began in 2005, the City has invested $28 million to create 559 new permanent housing units for homeless people. Working with partners like King County and United Way, we have collectively produced 1,000 new housing units for chronically homeless persons.
Just this year, Adrienne Quinn and I rewarded our friend Paul Lambrose for his political reliability with a noncompetitive $3.5 million in City funds for yet another Plymouth project. Who’s gonna complain? Right?
The City of Seattle spends approximately $40 million each year to support housing, programs and services for homeless people. While this is less than half of what we placed in the City budget for South Lake Union infrastructure this year to sweeten the deal for mega-billionaire Paul Allen, you’ve got to admit it sounds like a hell of a lot of dough.
Probably more than these people are worth.
While we are seriously behind in meeting Ten Year Plan Goals, and have made numerous policy decisions that benefit developers but substantially aggravate the housing affordability crisis, we prefer to not talk about that.
We’d rather talk about homeless people shitting in the woods. Ew. Gross.
Our Ten Year Plan calls us to collect reams and reams of data on all aspects of the problem. No longer do we rely on hearsay and conjecture. Due to the award winning investigative reporting of Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur and the tireless detective work of West Precinct’s Sgt. Paul Gracy, we have a clear picture of the problem.
We now know that homeless people are shitting in the woods in greater and greater numbers, spreading the risk of hepatitis, AIDS, avian flu, and the common cold. They often pitch their tents just a beer can’s toss from their disgusting piles of trash. These people are lazy, filthy, and diseased, and, as you said, just plain gross.
After several decades of “tolerance” and “compassion,” Seattle has finally arrived at the solution that these people cannot be allowed. Especially when there are other cities and states with lower real estate values whose greenbelts, bridges, and viaducts might be more amenable.
Fortunately, the number of homeless persons in Seattle appears to be diminishing. Thank you for your interest in homelessness issues and for writing to us on this important topic.
Mayor of Seattle