‘Must be resolved’
I signed the petition and have one for my neighbors to sign. The distress of our homeless neighbors must be resolved. The current city council mouths compassion but is clueless about practical, timely and compassionate solutions.
Amending the charter is a dramatic action, but dramatic action is needed. Opponents offer nothing but more fretting. The amendment is carefully balanced and will force the city to respond.
Nita Rinehart, Seattle
‘Let’s get this behind us’
I have lived in and loved Seattle for almost 40 years. I have voted Democratic forever. I am almost ready to pull the plug, despite losing half my savings and facing uncertain health and medical options.
Let’s get this behind us before we have done irreversible damage to a once vibrant, beautiful city.
Molly Preston, Seattle
‘I want a plan’
I see the proposed charter amendment as yet another idea to throw money at without a real plan. Ideas are not good enough. I want a plan — even a multilayered flow chart or other “system document” that not only depicts each positive event but also has answers for those occasions when the outcomes are negative.
In place of a charter amendment, why not contract with an outside nonpartisan think tank such as the University of Washington — grouping together both Computer Science and Humanities — to come up with a plan that covers as many bases as can be thought of? Then resolve to use the plan to provide positive outcomes for those who are homeless and for the housed (who are footing the bill). The UW’s Michael G. Foster School of Business (or a group similar to the Mitre Corporation) could then be hired to be an independent verification and validation entity to ensure that this plan is implemented with no politicians or any other “consultants” involved to skew results in their favor.
Treat the homelessness issue as if it were a computer system, because this is as complex as any system with multiple parts and avenues.
Martha Tofferi, Seattle
‘Scant on details’
The devil is in the details. This proposal is scant on details.
Please share the budget information for developing 2,000 units of affordable housing. Please share the budget for the treatment and support staff, and services — revenues and expenses. Please share how these services will be sustained, especially after the forthcoming federal dollars dissipate. Please share what the response will be to those who decline offers of shelter. More whack-a-mole? Please share how dollars diverted from other city services to this charter amendment will be replaced.
So much more needs to be shared. We citizens look forward to Compassion Seattle’s responses to the above. Without such detail, I will decline signing and will encourage others to do so.
Jonathan Beard, Seattle
Failed city council
I will definitely sign it. For years, we’ve endured a city council that has failed us over and over.
I remember writing Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold years ago and her promise that the city was going to keep the encampments free of trash. She told me about her color-coded trash bags and how the city was going to pick them up on a weekly basis. With hundreds of tents, that was never going to happen.
We have witnessed crime continue to climb. Anything we can do to take the power out of the incompetent council’s hands the better off both those who are homeless and citizens will be.
Thomas Wood, Seattle
Having worked on these issues for years, from serving on community nonprofit boards to the mayor’s task force for sweep protocols, finally with Compassion Seattle we have an opportunity to make a real difference.
It’s time to stop the endless shuffle and start building housing to get people off the streets and into homes so they can have a real chance to get their lives back together. Everyone who cares about people and the good of all should sign on for Compassion Seattle.
Eric Stoll, Seattle
Relearning limits required of citizenship
For 30 years, I battled a bipolar life. Sometimes coping with drugs and alcohol, always with lies and manipulation, I finally found myself on the street for three years. A total manic breakdown landed me at Harborview Medical Center in an involuntary commitment. If I had not been arrested for trespass, I would not have been given another opportunity for care. At last I accepted it.
Jail is not the answer to addiction and mental illness. But my experience tells me besides help — proper diagnosis, housing, health care and community — the most important ingredient to individual success is a willingness to accept help. Kindly letting people know they can’t pitch tents on public streets and parks while continuing to offer alternatives is the compassionate way to a better life — accountability from us all in increasing funds toward homelessness and accountability for those who need assistance by helping them relearn the limits required of citizenship.
Doug Fraser, Bellevue
During my 20 years working to end homelessness, The Seattle Times has been a clanging gong — not a compliment.
We work on the streets. Yes, it’s a mess. I say that not from the perspective of this newspaper or housed persons, but from the perspective of those living within it. It is a total puzzle about where to go, how to be safe and simply survive.
Being in homelessness is about life and death, with 63 homeless deaths recorded by the Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL)/Women in Black in King County in 2021. The Challenge Seattle report, to accompany Compassion Seattle, is another glaring offense that hopefully will soon be shelf art. Armchair solutions from above deserve no attention and even mislead.
The King County Regional Homelessness Authority proposes more streets-up and client partnerships. Rely on that instead. To businesses I say, “Stop being witnesses and help.” To the housed I say, “Serve the vulnerable as a volunteer through understaffed agencies.” To elected officials I say, “Stop all business as usual; it’s an emergency.”
I’m clergy and my No. 1 message remains, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That will never be shelf art.
The Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett, Auburn, director, Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, a ministry of St. Luke’s Lutheran, Bellevue