GEE AND URSULA

Seattle councilmember touts ‘win-win’ approach to addressing downtown homeless camps

Jun 23, 2021, 9:24 AM
Homeless Seattle, Andrew Lewis...
Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis. (Seattle City Council)
(Seattle City Council)

As Seattle continues to grapple with an ongoing homeless crisis and the growing presence of encampments across the city, City Councilmember Andrew Lewis believes that a new program known as JustCARE could provide the right formula to finally address those issues.

Councilmember pushing to condemn park near downtown Seattle courthouse

JustCARE operates as a collaboration between the city and a coalition of business, service providers, and outreach teams that work together to get the unsheltered into housing, while aiming to keep public spaces clear of encampments without involving law enforcement.

The program recently saw success along Third Avenue in downtown Seattle, where tents were cleared, the street was cleaned, and 33 people who had been living on the street in the area were voluntarily moved into available homeless shelter spaces. That’s all part of what Lewis describes as a “team effort” that eliminates the region’s more siloed approach, and instead has nonprofits and service providers pooling resources with county and city leaders.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” he told KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show. “When I got onto the council in January of 2020, I said that this is the way that I was going to try to lead and bring people together — making sure we were embracing the politics of collaboration instead of conflict, and looking at how we could use our resources more efficiently and effectively.”

“It took it took a while to get everything rolling, but once you really sit down with people and start talking about our mutual interest as business owners and as service providers, how we all have the same goal, which is to get folks inside, things can gel pretty quickly,” he added.

In terms of efforts to clear Third Avenue, that saw 14 people placed into Tiny Homes through the city’s HOPE Team, and then another 15 to 17 people moved into hotels run by JustCARE partners.

That collaborative work was especially important, Lewis notes, with the pandemic winding to a close and the state scheduled to reopen in full by June 30.

Seattle weighs differing approaches to homeless crisis in wake of pandemic

“By working together, we were able to solve for everybody, avoid displacement, get people inside, and get those businesses on Third Avenue in a position where they can open again,” Lewis described.

JustCARE will continue to expand in the weeks and month ahead as well, thanks to an additional $9 million allocated by councilmembers, with the goal of eventually addressing a growing encampment at City Hall Park next to the King County Courthouse.

“[That’s] a very high priority for my office,” he said. “I think that we can have a similar collaboration with Courthouse Park, but we’ve got to make sure that we go out and really see what everyone can bring to the table.”

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

Bruce Harrell inaugural address...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Seattle Mayor Harrell looks to form third public safety department for unarmed responders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to supplement the city's police and fire departments with a third public safety department.
4 days ago
grocery...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Report shows most Kroger grocery workers struggle to afford food

A new report shows that more than two-thirds of Kroger grocery workers are struggling to afford food, housing, or other basic needs.
5 days ago
amanda knox...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews Amanda Knox on new podcast

On “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee interviews Amanda Knox -- an author, activist, and journalist who was wrongly convicted in the murder her roommate.
6 days ago
kent police...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Apology for handling of Kent police officer who posted Nazi emblem fixes little

The Kent mayor and police chief apologized for the separation delay of an officer alleged to have displayed a Nazi emblem, only after public outcry.
7 days ago
COVID vaccine...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Likely that Washington schools will eventually require students to get COVID vaccine

Could the COVID vaccine join the list of requirements for children to attend school in Washington? State Superintendent Chris Reykdal believes it will.
9 days ago
outdoor lunch, kirkland...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

State superintendent: Kirkland school’s outdoor lunch rule ‘not the best choice’

Parents at Lakeview Elementary expressed outrage after finding out that the school would be mandating outdoor lunch in cold temperatures.
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, […]
Seattle councilmember touts ‘win-win’ approach to addressing downtown homeless camps