GEE AND URSULA

Former Seattle mayor: Rise in homeless camps ‘a matter of fixing the shelter system’

Oct 27, 2020, 2:32 PM | Updated: 3:47 pm
Seattle homelessness, homeless authority CEO...
A homeless camp in South Lake Union. (Jason Rantz, KTTH)
(Jason Rantz, KTTH)

As Seattle’s homeless crisis continues, a group of city businesses and neighborhood groups has issued a letter to local leaders, asking that they deal with the growing number of encampments. Former Mayor Greg Nickels stopped by KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show to talk about what the city needs to do to tackle that problem amid the ongoing pandemic.

Researchers see ‘compelling’ results from bringing homeless into hotels

The letter called on leaders to clear encampments out of parks in the name of public safety, citing the presence of garbage, drug-use, and unsafe conditions for neighborhood residents. For Nickels, that’s one piece of the puzzle, but helping the city’s homeless also goes far beyond that as well.

“We need to deal with those underlying issues, and we need to deal with it in a humane setting,” he said.

To that end, he suggests providing subsidized affordable housing as a means to deal with those underlying issues. That also means ensuring that Seattle has a robust shelter system with consistently available space and livable conditions.

“It’s a matter of fixing the shelter system, because clearly it isn’t working for many people as they would rather be outdoors,” Nickels pointed out.

In February, Seattle councilmembers grilled leaders from the Navigation Team over their clearance of homeless encampments, pointing to low rates of accepted offers of shelter (around 24 percent according to data presented by the Human Services Department).

Seattle council slams Navigation Team on homeless camp sweeps

At the time, councilmembers cited the fact that there were roughly 12 available shelter beds on average a night, making it difficult to present a “meaningful offer of shelter” when an encampment is cleared by outreach workers.

The council voted to effectively end the Navigation Team in early August, before funding for a scaled-down version was approved this week, primarily to manage outreach to encampments for the remainder of 2020.

A 2021 budget proposal from current Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan would also add 425 short-term shelter beds, in hopes of giving those moved out of camps somewhere to land. That measure has yet to be approved, but will soon be part of a larger debate over next year’s budget between the mayor’s office and city council.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

Students test scores...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Reykdal: ‘Really unfair’ to judge Washington students based on recent dip in test scores

Washington Superintendent Chris Reykdal says that recently-released data on student test scores lack some much-needed context.
23 hours ago
truck drivers...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Truck drivers deserve to use the restroom at businesses where they deliver

Lawmakers in Olympia are now considering a bill that would expand restroom access for truck drivers and delivery drivers.
23 hours ago
Psychedelics, mushrooms...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Psychedelics could be ‘mental health fix we’ve been looking for,’ says state lawmaker

State Sen. Jesse Salomon is proposing a new bill to allow for the use of psychedelics in mental health treatment in Washington.
2 days ago
josiah johnson...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee Scott learns from the King: Josiah Johnson

Josiah Johnson played basketball at UCLA, and is the son of former NBA star Marques Johnson, but might be best known for his social media presence.
3 days ago
income tax, Olympia...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Is it time for an income tax in Washington state?

Is it time for an income tax in Washington state? The Gee and Ursula Show team wants to dig into a few more details on this proposal before supporting it.
6 days ago
students...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Data shows pandemic has impacted learning for Washington students

Test scores in Washington have dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, with just 30% of students in grades 4-11 meeting standards in math.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Former Seattle mayor: Rise in homeless camps ‘a matter of fixing the shelter system’