Re: Seattle: SHARE fights Homeless ID "Tracking Collar" FWD

Bill Tinker (
Fri, 16 Oct 1998 14:55:33 -0400

This smacks of job security,for the so called social workers,and I can tell
you horror stories about "Voc Rehab" how a lady took all the information on
my disabled fiancee,and six months later we called to find out what was
brewing.Well the woman retired and took her files home with her,sooooo
naturally we cancelled.
 No this electronic tracking device is similar to house arrest type of stuff
and no should be considered paranoid for this is most definitely a huge
waste of money,and a means to keep track of where you go and have been,next
they will set up centers for any one over 50 to go to to check into and be
determined if they are worthy to exist.. Get these persons a home,food,some
dignity back and stop creating paying jobs for the fat cats whom have no
inkling of what the homeless person does in a day to survive or live,nor how
many miles they have walked.
 This idea is almost as insane as cards ,when will this vast waste of funds
stop and the real homeless programs begin???
   I can see it now,no bed unless you have your card,or nothing to eat
unless you are wearing a monitor....Stop the crap,stop putting up road
blocks and actually become involved with a realistic program.
 Again some of these do gooders should have at least six months of
homelessness under their belt to be able to work in any program for the
homeless,or disabled.                   Bill

----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Boland <>
Sent: Saturday, October 16, 1999 9:13 AM
Subject: Seattle: SHARE fights Homeless ID "Tracking Collar" FWD

> FWD  Seattle Post-Intelligencer / Wednesday, October 13, 1999
> Spurred by fears that a proposed city computer system to track them
> will step on personal freedoms, a group of street people will meet
> with city officials today to send a terse message: No way.
> Members of the homeless issues group Seattle Housing and Resource
> Effort say the tracking plan also deflects attention from a
> shortage of emergency shelter beds in the city.
> Group members say they will withhold from case workers personal
> information that could be compiled and used against the homeless.
> "It's not paranoia. It's just wrong," said John Steetle, a
> homeless man who is part of SHARE. "We have no assurances on
> how the information will be used. People are frightened....
> Maybe I have a warrant out. Will I be cast as a bad homeless
> person?"
> But the concern is not universal among social service providers.
> Bill Wippel of the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle said tracking
> would allow his agency to better handle its caseloads. He said
> case workers could study personal histories, share information
> with other shelters and social programs and learn which people
> are serious about getting off the streets.
> "It's like being a doctor," Wippel said. "You can't treat the
> patient without having proper information. The doctor always has
> his file. We are interested in better management, not snooping."
> The controversial tracking system is part of the city's Safe Harbors
> program, a multipronged plan unanimously approved by City Council
> last week to address the housing and service needs of about 5,500
> homeless in Seattle.
> The council has authorized $90,000 to hire a consultant to design
> the program. Under the plan, a homeless person would be given a
> unique number. Any time he or she went to a soup kitchen or slept
> at a shelter, the number would be registered in a computer network.
> A case manager could review a homeless person's file and determine
> whether there is a pattern or potential solution for a case -- drug
> rehabilitation or job referrals, for examples.
> City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck said the city and surrounding area
> have about 2,350 emergency shelter beds, in addition to transitional
> housing rooms. But an exact number of homeless people and shelter
> beds, he said, is hard to pin down.
> "We don't have a system to accurately measure the number of homeless
> people and the needs they represent -- substance abuse, mental
> illness, out of jobs," Steinbrueck said. "The entire system is
> either fragmented or uncoordinated."
> In Seattle, city leaders currently spend $9.1 million on the
> homeless, including $5 million for emergency shelter. But officials
> felt the homeless services network needed to be more efficient.
> So they convened with a wide range of people, from homeless
> advocates to people on the streets to social service providers,
> and discussed the best approach. They learned other cities --
> including Philadelphia, New York and Boston -- were using computer
> tracking system for years. Encouraged by success in those places,
> Seattle officials imported the concept.
> Dennis Culhane, an associate professor at the University of
> Pennsylvania, who developed computer software to track the
> homeless, said the concept "is an idea whose time has come."
> "There are tremendous benefits," Culhane said. "It is not possible
> to develop an efficient system of services and deliver them without
> having good data."
> In Philadelphia, civic leaders learned a surprising fact from the
> computer tracking: The number of unduplicated homeless people using
> the city's services was several times greater than the most liberal
> estimates, Culhane said.
> In addition, he said, shelters in Philadelphia learned specific
> information about who was using the shelters -- a chronic homeless
> population that tended to be disabled, mentally ill, and older.
> Such detailed facts, allowed the city to better fashion solutions
> for homeless people -- and save money.
> But in Seattle, some homeless people have called Safe Harbor
> "unsafe" and "no harbor," lambasting what they perceive as an
> invasion of privacy.
> Culhane, however, said laws require confidentiality of personal
> information used by social agencies. In addition, computer programs
> can be tailored to ensure that certain data is shared or analyzed
> between certain social service agencies.
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