Re: “Seattle again removes homeless tents at Cal Anderson Park; campers say they’ll return” [Dec. 18, Project Homeless]:
Seattle ignores/resists obvious ways to get unhoused people into shelter that won’t put them at higher risk of COVID-19. Many more tiny-house villages can be built and staffed. University dormitories sit empty, losing revenue. Acres of office building space sit vacant while homeless people huddle on the pavement outside. Toilet and shower facilities in YMCAs, YWCAs and community centers could be available day and evening.
Funding is not the issue. It is fear of taxing obscene corporate profits realized in part because of this city’s largesse at the expense of its poorest. It is fear of disrupting real estate investor “rights” by requiring some shelter space in buildings.
It was awful to watch video of police and city workers disassembling tents of encampment dwellers forced out of Cal Anderson Park. Those were their survival belongings — tents, tarps, plywood — slowly acquired and built to protect them from increasingly severe weather. They won’t get their belongings back or be compensated for them, yet past evidence shows many will return to tent dwelling. Once again, the city will have gone to great expense and put on a big show “cleaning” out an encampment with no safer, more accommodating housing to offer.
Elaine Nonneman, Seattle