Seattle can’t cure its homeless issue with tent cities

Jun 30, 2015, 4:57 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2015, 5:26 am

Seattle’s growing homeless problem won’t be solved by adding more tent cities. (Photo: ...

Seattle's growing homeless problem won't be solved by adding more tent cities. (Photo: Don Hankins on Flickr)

(Photo: Don Hankins on Flickr)

Seattle’s growing homeless problem won’t be solved by adding more tent cities.

The City of Seattle released a map of city-owned properties most suitable for new homeless encampments to serve at least 200 people. Mayor Ed Murray was expected to give the city council a resolution on Tuesday.

But are encampments the answer?

It will take more than one solution to solve the issue of homelessness, said 710 ESPN’s Mike Salk.

There are different “types” of homeless people; those who are the working poor and those who are not employable, for example. So homeless people can’t all be lumped into one category, Salk said.

“You need a two-pronged strategy,” he added.

There are at least 2,800 homeless people living without shelter in the community, according to the One Night Count. The total homeless population in the area is much higher &#8212 to the tune of about 9,000, according to former Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Services Center executive director Bill Hobson.

It could take as much as $1 billion and a decade to dramatically reduce the number of homeless people on Seattle’s streets, according to Hobson.

Even Murray admitted that homeless encampments are not a permanent solution. However, the designated areas do help make neighborhoods safer, he said.

The three preferred city-owned sites for homeless encampments in 2015 are: 2826 NW Market St. for approximately 52 residents; 3234 17th Ave. W for approximately 70 residents; and Industrial Way between 5th and 6th Avenue S for approximately 78 residents. Four other sites were identified for future locations.

Related: Is it surprising where the homeless encampments will be?

The cost estimate for the encampments will be about $32,000. The city spent $34 million on homelessness in 2014.

KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill wanted to know if Mike was OK with the city adding more encampments, even if they are not supposed to be a permanent solution.

“This is where Liberal guilt fails me,” Mike said. He wants to do something, but also doesn’t want to see it all the time. “Because I also understand the economic benefits of growing the city and making it a comfortable place for more and more people who have money to live in…”

Ron and Don


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Seattle can’t cure its homeless issue with tent cities