A Sharing Problem, part 1

Seattle is doing way more than their fair share in the way of providing services and facilities to address the homelessness epidemic. The Eastside and beyond need to step up.

Kate Martin for City Council District 6

Almost 6500 people were unsheltered for the last “one night count”. What they count as sheltered is sketchy. The number is really more like 10,000 in my terms. 

But, look at the numbers below and I fear they’ve skewed even more out of whack in the last year. Seattle is taking 70% and the Eastside is taking 7%. North King Co is taking 3% and South is taking 21%. 

The problem repeats beyond King County into Pierce and Snohomish Counties.

Cut from Capitol Hill Times article. 

The data that jumps out at me is the count in Seattle with a whopping 71% of the county’s homeless, but only 33% of the population.

No wonder we feel overwhelmed and can’t catch up. 

Just because King County government is located in Downtown Seattle, that does not mean that facilities and services should be built disproportionally more here than beyond.

Maybe it would help to move King County government to Bellevue in order to right the ship. 

Even churches on the Eastside build their tiny houses in Seattle rather than in their own backyards. I’m sure their hearts are in the right place, but that’s not sitting right with me.  

As a planner, I think one of Seattle’s biggest planning mistakes – and we’ve made some whoppers – has been to group like things together geographically. The grouping methodology risks the creation of various ghettos. Like SODO (often dead at night except for the wrong uses), 3rd Ave (plethora of bus traffic with dead segments, concentration of service providers and low-income housing feels toxic), and the “civic” neighborhood around City Hall (more dead at night except the wrong uses). Even concentrating commercial uses on the ground floors creates ghettos depending on the time of day. We all have more examples. 

If ever anything needed to be diluted geographically, it is the services and facilities to address poverty, mental illness and addiction. If we could spread the love, neither the affliction nor the cure would be toxic to the people who need the help or hand up, nor anyone else.  As they taught me when I was a volunteer at the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club, everything in ratio. 

I’m a fair person and I can feed a lot of people at my dinner table, and I do, but fair is fair. I can’t feed everyone. Neither can you. Seattle cannot be, nor should they be, the unsupported vessel that receives all of the broke and broken people from across the county, the surrounding counties and beyond.

When we all do what we all need to do, everything will get better. 

Make Kate your candidate in the District 6 City Council race. Your contribution to Kate’s campaign will make all the difference.

 

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