New survey highlights homeless crisis as ‘top concern’ among Seattle residents

Nov 9, 2020, 9:49 AM
Homeless crisis, Seattle homeless, Auburn...
A homeless encampment in Ballard. (Photo: Rob Harwood)
(Photo: Rob Harwood)

A new survey released Monday morning details issues many Seattle residents find most troubling, including increasing concerns over the city’s homeless crisis.

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The survey was commissioned by the Downtown Seattle Association and the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce, asking 900 respondents a variety of questions on topics ranging from homelessness and police reform, to the direction of the city and the performance of city council.

The top frustration mentioned by respondents was overwhelmingly homelessness at 45%, followed by affordability and police brutality/defunding the police at 19% each.

“Homelessness is a top concern across the city — it doesn’t matter what neighborhood you’re in,” Downtown Seattle Association President Jon Scholes told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “I think we’re all frustrated that five or six years into the city and county declaring a state of emergency, we’re still seeing too many people in our alleys and parks and sidewalks.”

Scholes detailed a priority among many to “engage with folks compassionately and get them in better situations” than the city has seen with a number of growing encampments in Denny Park and Ballard.

“We can do much better than that, and I think that message is coming through strongly in this survey,” he noted.

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Respondents also expressed displeasure with city councilmembers, with 59% holding an unfavorable view of them, up from 48% in July, and 39% in May. That said, there was more support for city council among the 18 to 39-year-old demographic, with 48% of them viewing the council favorably.

“You see throughout this survey a lot of frustration that folks just don’t feel like they’re being heard right now on critical issues,” Scholes said.

That demographic was similarly more supportive than the aggregate of respondents for defunding the police department by half. While just 40% of total respondents supported defunding SPD, that number rose to 59% in the 18 to 39 age group.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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New survey highlights homeless crisis as ‘top concern’ among Seattle residents