Ross: New homeless shelters should be built around Sea-Tac Airport

Jan 18, 2023, 8:05 AM | Updated: 8:13 am
passengers, shutdown, homeless...
Homeless shelters and airports have in common. No one wants an airport in their neighborhood either, says Dave Ross. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

It’s happened in Atlanta, it’s happened in Dallas – and now a story by Casey Martin reminds us that it’s happening here – homeless people sleeping at the airport.

And it makes sense. A lot of non-homeless people end up sleeping at airports, so why not?

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Well, because sometimes they breach security which delays everybody.

Also because airports are terrible places to sleep – as anybody who tried traveling over the holidays knows – and it’s even worse when the police are under orders to kick you out.

But the people Casey describes in the article seem to be truly desperate. They’re riding transit all night to stay warm, and they end up at the airport in hopes of finding a bench where the cops won’t notice, and it’s sad.

And one of the reasons it comes to this is because no one wants homeless shelters in their neighborhood.

Which, come to think of it, is something homeless shelters and airports have in common. No one wants an airport in their neighborhood either! And we all know how airports have dealt with that problem – they just move the neighborhood.

Which gives me an idea…

When you’re on the final approach to SEA you can still see the abandoned streets of the neighborhoods that used to be south of the runways. So why couldn’t you put a shelter or two down there?

Carve out a little patch of that empty land, recycle some building materials and furniture from the airport’s endless remodeling projects, run a shuttle bus, give people a warm place to sleep, and maybe even get the airport restaurants to donate unsold food.

Actually, seeing how passengers sometimes end up sleeping on the floor when there’s one of those scheduling glitches – maybe there could be a decent shelter for non-homeless people too.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: New homeless shelters should be built around Sea-Tac Airport