Re: homelessness *is unacceptable and unnecessary (fwd)

Theodore Latham (tedrico@hotmail.com)
Mon, 10 Aug 1998 22:33:15 PDT


Pat,

   I received this same letter on Jul 16th. from the Seattle Mayor's 
Office, regarding the "Jungle" issue on June. Maybe it got lost in the 
mail.

-- Tedrico

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"P. Myers" <mpwr@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>Subject: Re: homelessness *is unacceptable and unnecessary (fwd)
>
>
>only took him 2 months to send the form letter.  whoo-hoo.  pat myers
>
>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998 15:43:00 -0700
>From: "DOM01.P0103:MOFFICE" <Mayors.Office@ci.seattle.wa.us>
>To: "P. Myers" <mpwr@u.washington.edu>
>Subject: Re: homelessness *is unacceptable and unnecessary
>
>      Date:  08/08/1998  03:43 pm  (Saturday)
>      From:  Mayors Office
>        To:  "\"P. Myers\" <mpwr@u.washington.edu> at
>             Internet"@COS.ccMail
>   Subject:  Re: homelessness *is unacceptable and unnecessary
>
>Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns about the clearing 
of
>homeless encampments.  I apologize for the delay in responding.
>
>The recent cleanup of encampments on Beacon Hill, in the East Duwamish
>Greenbelt, was a coordinated effort of State, County, and City human
>services agencies, and is consistent with a 10-year City policy.  This 
and
>other cleanups are done in the most humane way possible.  Notices are
>personally handed out to each resident at the encampment 1   2 days in
>advance, in English and Spanish.  Community Service Officers are 
on-site
>during the cleanup, to offer those present assistance and referral
>services.
>
>Encampment cleanups are done to address immediate public safety and 
health
>issues.  In the specific instance of the Beacon Hill encampments, there
>had been growing concern that rodent infestation was threatening to 
become
>a public health hazard to the surrounding community.  In addition, an
>apprehended, confessed murderer recently described this area as his
>"playground," and we are taking that public safety risk very seriously.
>
>I recognize that these cleanups are not a long-term solution to the
>homeless problem, and I am working with the City Council to come up 
with a
>comprehensive strategy involving not only local government, but the 
entire
>community.  As a first step in that strategy, I have requested an
>emergency funding measure to assure that all homeless children and 
women
>are provided with shelter by Christmas of this year.  We will also
>continue working to address the underlying problems that create
>homelessness in our society, including the need for affordable housing,
>mental health and substance abuse treatment, and employment and 
training
>opportunities.  The City of Seattle currently spends nearly $8 million 
per
>year on services to help the homeless.
>
>Again, I appreciate your concern about this difficult issue, and 
encourage
>you to stay involved as we seek out the best government and community
>options to provide more permanent solutions to the homeless problem.
>
>Very truly yours,
>
>
>
>
>Paul Schell
>
>cc: Ven Knox, Director, Department of Housing and Human Services
>
>
>>>> "P. Myers" <mpwr@u.washington.edu> at Internet 06/12 10:03 AM >>>
>
>Mayor Schell:
>
>I am prompted to write again, concerning the bulldozing of the "Jungle" 
in
>Seattle, recently named the most livable of the larger cities in the 
U.S.
>In this most livable city, homeless sleep on hot air grates on the 
campus
>of the University of Washington... in less inclement weather, they 
sleep
>on the grass of campus, proper, largely ignored...invisible.
>
>In this most livable of cities, downtown bus stops have had benches cut
>off, only the standards and small pieces of wood between sanded and
>laminated, leaving room for two sitters...one between each standard. 
This,
>to discourage sitting or resting or sleeping by homeless...we go a long
>way in Seattle, to maintain the *image of a city without homeless...
>We have, in this most livable city, mean sweeps; no sitting 
injunctions,
>and penalties around most activities not somehow connectable with 
middle
>class life.  Indeed, in this most livable of cities, we are very close 
to
>an Elizabethan Poor Law:  ready to lock up the poorest of the poor;
>fragment through sweeps the rest.
>
>And we are not alone.  Other cities internationally have adopted 
similar
>harrassment tactics.  In San Diego, I am told, where for months 
homeless
>have been camping in protest of shelter closures during El Nino, June 
19th
>has been targetted as the date that police will begin serious 
harassment.
>
>This group needs an attorney, for a class action suit that *can be won!
>But in Seattle, the most livable of cities, we have a Mayor Schell, who
>has vowed to end homelessness...but first allows the bulldozing of the
>Jungle, fragmenting and dispersing a community that needs, instead, to
>come together around issues of identity and simple, decent human 
rights.
>We all know that ignoring does *not make anything
> go away.  We try to teach, if we are parents, responsibility for 
making,
>or leaving, t
>he world a better place for eve
>ryone.  Yet we accept homelessness; blame the victims (a "lifestyle
>choice" as a Parks Rep. said recently?!); allow one another to 
"disappear"
>homeless...on and on...anything but demand that this community of 
citizens
>receive the respect and treatment that we demand for ourselves.
>
>Mayor Schell, give back the most livable city label, until we are that,
>for *all our citizens.  Because until then, we are the least 
livable...for
>far too many.
>
>Pat Myers
>
>





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