LOCAL NEWS

Seattle has ‘culture block’ when it comes to the homeless crisis

Mar 23, 2017, 5:50 AM | Updated: 12:17 pm
homeless, seattle homeless, Portland...
With so many homeless people living next to I-5, Dori wonders when a recent case out of Portland will be repeated here. (MyNorthwest)
(MyNorthwest)

We’ve all wondered something like it — why does it seem that solutions are slow when it comes to Seattle’s homeless crisis? Well, according to one expert, it’s because we have “culture block.”

Related: Seattle homeless czar lays out city’s next steps

“I think there is some progress being made,” Consultant Barb Poppe said. “But what I’m not seeing is the rapid innovation that needs to happen between community members, the providers, the government, the business sector. It seems like there is some block in your culture. You want everything all figured out and everybody gets everything, and once we have a master plan, we’ll go forward. And I think sometimes the accountability is just, ‘It’s the mayor’s problem.’”

Poppe has found a balance between being polite and blunt when it comes to telling locals the hard truth about the Seattle homeless issue. Her most recent sentiment is in line with previous comments she has made about the Seattle homeless issue, such as the city can use a lot less talk, and more action.

Seattle homeless crisis: Tell it like it is

The Downtown Seattle Association hosted Poppe and other panelists for a second time Wednesday to discuss Seattle’s homeless crisis. The event was co-hosted by the Seattle Metro Chamber, Visit Seattle and the Alliance for Pioneer Square and was moderated by KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. The city paid Poppe $80,000 for nine months of work in 2016 to come up with an assessment of, and recommendations for Seattle’s homeless crisis. She has since been a fixture around Seattle as locals seek action to the tents lining the freeway and the millions being spent on the crisis.

She was again pressed for answers on Wednesday — more specifically on a $275 million question. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is asking taxpayers for that much in a new homeless levy.

But in 2016, Poppe told city officials that Seattle could mostly fix its homeless issue within a year if it used current funding and resources correctly.

“(The data) was three years ago and the progress that happened since then has been pretty incremental,” Poppe said. “By all accounts you’ve had rising homelessness. So the modeling can’t take into account all of the rapid increases – you had a 19 percent increase in homelessness. Your problem got worse because there wasn’t the action that probably needed to happen several years ago.”

“Based on 2013-14 data, there were enough homeless assistance resources involved that if you shifted to the practices that got the greatest results, you could solve for unsheltered homelessness within a year — if you made those shifts and you added $9 million,” she said.

“What I understand, though, is that collectively you all don’t want to make the shift,” she added. “Because providers and systems haven’t been held accountable to move to make the shifts; because you are attached to what you currently do.”

As for the $275 million levy that Mayor Murray will have on the November ballot:

“What I can say to you is what they intend to spend the additional money on, isn’t on the things that haven’t worked in the past,” Poppe said. “It’s not about building more sanctioned encampments, it’s not about more RV parks that folks can park on. That’s not what the investment is. The investment looks to be on the things that are achieving results here.”

“So you may decide, as voters, that you’re going to support the levy because it’s going to be investing in things we know will make a difference,” she said. “The question for you is what’s the accountability that each of you has to implement the recommendations and work together to be aligned today, doing that which works. How do you each contribute to a solution today and how do you hold accountable?”

Local News

monkey...
Nicole Jennings

PETA storms UW over treatment of medical research monkeys on first day of classes

It was all part of a protest by PETA and the Northwest Animal Rights Network against UW's Northwest Center for Primate Research.
22 hours ago
goat...
Micki Gamez

Overgrown vegetation no match for SDOT’s eco-friendly contractors … goats!  

"They are an environmentally friendly and sustainable way to control vegetation on public land."
22 hours ago
wearmouth...
Charlie Harger

58-year-old baseball umpire charged with sexual abuse of a minor turns himself in

Casey McNerthney with the prosecutor's office said investigators believe Wearmouth "groomed" the girl for a period of time on social media.
22 hours ago
Crime Handcuffs...
Hanna Scott

Man accused of threatening to stab Renton bartender pleads not guilty

Carlos Perez pled not guilty at an arraignment this week for reportedly threatening to stab a Renton bartender earlier this month.
22 hours ago
SUV pulled from ditch in Bothell...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Roads are slick! SUV pulled from ditch in Bothell

An SUV was lifted out of a ditch in Bothell on Wednesday after the light showers left the roads slippery in Western Washington.
22 hours ago
capacity magazine...
Hanna Scott

Trial date set for late 2023 over large capacity magazine ban in Washington state

A federal judge has scheduled a trial in the legal challenge to Washington State’s new ban on high-capacity magazines for late 2023.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Seattle has ‘culture block’ when it comes to the homeless crisis