‘Seattle is Dying’ follow-up draws harsh criticism from local homeless advocates

Dec 22, 2020, 9:38 AM
Seattle is Dying, homelessness...
Advocates for affordable housing in Seattle. (KIRO Radio)
(KIRO Radio)

In 2019, KOMO produced a documentary entitled “Seattle is Dying,” laying out a narrative arguing that an escalating homeless crisis was responsible for the downfall of the city’s downtown core. The network put out a sequel in December called “Fight for the Soul of Seattle,” and groups criticized in the segment are already speaking out.

Diverse ‘Seattle is Dying’ panel agrees city’s actions not working

The new 90-minute follow-up documentary from KOMO labels the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) — a local homelessness nonprofit — as “the single greatest drain on police resources in the city of Seattle.”

The organization released a lengthy statement addressing that accusation Monday, claiming that the documentary “conflates and simplifies complex issues, mischaracterizes DESC’s mission, and ignores our successful track record housing and supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable and marginalized people.”

According to the DESC, the nonprofit was not asked for a statement despite being featured prominently.

“We have deep expertise on these topics, and would have provided details about our work and pointed them to decades of research on proven interventions in addressing homelessness, drug addiction, and other behavioral health issues,” the DESC’s statement reads.

Several other prominent groups addressing homeless in Seattle and across the U.S. also responded to KOMO’s documentary, in the form of a joint letter signed by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, Lived Experience Coalition, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and more.

The letter labeled “Fight for the Soul of Seattle” as “propaganda from [KOMO parent company] Sinclair, the worldwide right-wing media group dedicated to sowing division and promoting fringe arguments.”

Opinion: Bid to evict homeless from Renton hotel is laughably cruel

“There’s no ‘battle’ for the soul of anything, save perhaps for a nation that has allowed its housing market to careen out of control and a lack of leadership willing to address it,” the letter reads.

The documentary’s own arguments concerning homelessness center around stricter enforcement of substance addiction, and “the crushing decisions Seattle entrepreneurs are forced to contemplate as their life savings and dreams are destroyed by theft, vandalism and a dwindling customer base.”

“This documentary also explores potential bold solutions to treat those living on the streets and pair them with agencies and assistance that can provide a clear path away from the endless circle of addiction and crime,” KOMO’s article accompanying the piece lays out.


Local News

cap rent criminal background checks...
L.B. Gilbert

Judge rules against Seattle ban on criminal background checks for renters

Discrimination against those with criminal background checks is still illegal but the ruling allows landlords to ask about criminal records.
16 hours ago
gas works park...
L.B. Gilbert

1 dead, 1 injured in overnight shooting at Gas Works Park

Shortly after 11:30 p.m., officers arrived and located two males with gunshot wounds at Gas Works Park Tuesday night. 
16 hours ago
Seattle Starbucks strike...
L.B. Gilbert

Starbucks union calls for strikes, pickets ahead of shareholder meeting

Café employees and their supporters protested outside company headquarters in downtown Seattle on Wednesday.
16 hours ago
Bridget Chavez, KIRO 7 News

Seattle Humane reports surge in pet surrenders due to rising costs amidst inflation

Seattle Humane is seeing more people in the area surrendering their pets due to rising costs.
16 hours ago
oso landslide...
Ted Buehner

Oso community marks 9-year anniversary of deadly landslide

March 22nd marks a solemn day in Washington's history. It was nine years ago when the Oso landslide occurred, taking 43 lives.
16 hours ago
Hospitals losses...
Bill Kaczaraba

WA hospitals operating at a loss, official calls situation ‘unsustainable’

Washington hospitals are operating at a loss and it could impact patient services. Financial losses are totaling billions of dollars.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
‘Seattle is Dying’ follow-up draws harsh criticism from local homeless advocates