In homeless crisis, Seattle’s challenge is its own progressive attitude

May 8, 2018, 10:50 AM | Updated: 12:13 pm

homeless sweeps, ACLU...

Seattle protesters demonstrate in 2016 as crews conducted a homeless sweep in the infamous Jungle where various encampments were located. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

The progressive persona Seattle projects may need to be fixed before we can solve the city’s homeless crisis.

Seattle University has basically taken on homelessness as a university-wide issue. They have all the disciplines working on it.

Sara Rankin, the director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project at Seattle University’s law school, says Seattle is actually spending itself into a bigger homelessness problem. And the unwillingness of so many of the city’s neighborhoods to actively address the crisis isn’t helping.

RELATED: Homeless boat spotted under the 520 Bridge

“Progressive personas without true compassion and without true reflection is Seattle’s problem,” Rankin said.

Rankin hails from Chicago, where the attitude may not be as compassionate, but you at least know what people are actually thinking. She says Seattle has to give its housing-first programs a boost. It would be better, Rankin says, to house someone who needs treatment or mental health services before they start any programs.

The homeless population generates enormous costs for Seattle. The city houses them through their criminal justice system. Plus, Rankin points out, they contribute to a high amount of emergency response. It is costing the city millions, she says.

Seattle leadership continues to search for ways to further fund its homeless and housing programs. The latest idea is a head tax, which would charge nearly 600 of businesses in the city 26 cents per employee, per hour. It would raise more than $20 million a year.

RELATED: Everett seeks balance between homeless and frustrated residents

But funding aside, Rankin says the city as a whole needs to actually want to solve the problem.

“A lot has to do with political will and community support,” she said.

Listen to the entire conversation here.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave Ross

privacy pods...

Dave Ross

Ross: Tracking employees’ vital signs at work via privacy pods, what could go wrong?

I saw a Bloomberg story about the latest innovation to reduce your stress level at work: Privacy pods.

20 days ago

car culture...

Dave Ross

Ross: Are we killing car culture? Or is car culture killing the US?

I don’t think the question is whether we're going to "kill" our car culture. The real question is can we stop our car culture from killing the U.S.?

27 days ago

drivers data insurance...

Dave Ross

Ross: As cars release driving data to insurance, is your driving my business?

Every move you make, every swerve you take, every lane change you fake – someone’s watching you. Do drivers have a right to keep driving data private?

1 month ago

rent control...

Dave Ross

Ross: Rent control was never the answer in Wash.

The rent control bill died in the Washington State Legislature this week, even though Democrats control both houses.

2 months ago

end of democracy...

Dave Ross

Ross: Conservative activist earns applause for pledging an ‘end of Democracy’

The theme from Jack Posobiec's speech is that Jan. 6 was a righteous attack not on democracy, but on those who threaten democracy.

2 months ago

Image: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, is seen on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2023. (Photo: Alex Brand...

Dave Ross

Ross: Voters can help cull bad politicians from the herd early

Let's remember that just about every occupant of a higher office once occupied a lower office, and was put there by us, Dave Ross says.

2 months ago

In homeless crisis, Seattle’s challenge is its own progressive attitude