Coming Whittier Heights encampment terrifies residents

Apr 10, 2018, 9:23 AM
A homeless encampment is coming to Whittier Heights. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)...
A homeless encampment is coming to Whittier Heights. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
LISTEN: Whittier Heights residents dread coming homeless encampment

For residents in Whittier Heights, the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort/Low-Income Housing Institute’s coming tiny house encampment at 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 80th Street represents a horror story.

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David Moody, who lives near the future Whittier Heights encampment, told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that he and his neighbors had no say in whether or not their area of the city would be forever changed.

“By the time the city had a public meeting for the community, it was a done deal,” Moody said. “We weren’t asked for input; we were simply being told.”

Moody, who is his neighborhood’s Block Watch captain, said that “most of the neighborhood is not happy” about the decision.

Now they live in fear of what is coming; Moody believes this list includes drug use, burglaries, prostitution, and additional, unsanctioned encampments.

“Our concern is, not only will those aspects come with this village, with this encampment, but [the Seattle Police Department] is ill-equipped to provide services to this neighborhood, and to that encampment, to provide peace and safety,” Moody said.

Police have already warned residents that prostitution will occur in central places throughout the neighborhood.

“When [police] officers are telling us that the bank parking lot and Safeway are going to become locations where car-dating is frequent because individuals have to pay for their habits somehow, it is going to bring crime and prostitution to fund those illicit activities,” he said.

Moody pointed out that Whittier Elementary, Whitman Middle School, and Ballard High School are all within walking distance of the future encampment.

“We’re talking about our school-age children going past this on a daily basis,” Moody said. “And that is simply wrong.”

Ineffective solutions

Moody explained that the city of Seattle hired two professional organizations to brainstorm solutions for homeless crisis. He pointed out that Barbara Poppe, author of the 2016 city-commissioned report titled “Recommendations for the City of Seattle’s Homeless Investment Policy: The Path Forward – Act Now, Act Strategically, and Act Decisively,” told city officials that tent cities and tiny house villages would only lead to the development of shanty towns.

“The city spent $200,000 on these reports, and then didn’t use them,” Moody said.

Moody explained that, according to city data shown at a March 22 public meeting with the city to discuss the encampment, only 122 out of the city’s 4,000 homeless – three percent – successfully transitioned into housing in the past year.

“We are squandering millions and millions of dollars,” Moody said. “If the mayor can call a halt to this streetcar to re-examine the expenses and possible mismanagement, isn’t it time for the mayor to call a halt to these encampments and figure out how the money is being wasted?”

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Coming Whittier Heights encampment terrifies residents