EDITORIAL | Homeless not on city's time

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw praised new homelessness director George Scarola last week during a council committee meeting, where the former education lobbyist with the fancy new title and some other likewise important city employees laid out how a 24/7 navigation center meant to shelter the homeless and provide them with access to various human services wouldn’t be open by January, as planned. 

Mayor Ed Murray laid out plans for this new dormitory-style model for addressing the city’s homelessness crisis back in June. For the mathematically challenged, that was six months ago. 

We had a pretty good idea when it was announced that the navigation center would open by the first of the year that it wasn’t going to happen. Whether it’s a government agency, developer or restaurateur, whenever they tell you a target date, add at least two months. Remember when Paseo was going to open in Capitol Hill in early November? Yeah, we’re writing this hungry; so what?

Hey, we can certainly wait for a tasty Caribbean sandwich. What homeless people can’t wait for is an increase in low-barrier shelter options, particularly not in the middle of winter. 

A mighty hand clap for the emergency shelter the city has been opening periodically at Seattle Center. We hear it can accomodate a little more than 100 people. What was the last homeless count in Seattle again? Oh yeah, it was 3,000 people. 

It’s fine, though, because we have three — not four — new sanctioned encampments about to come online soon-ish. There’s currently no operator for the third, and the city’s human services director couldn’t definitively answer all of the councilmembers’ questions regarding the services to expect at these encampments, but our elected leaders didn’t press too hard. We’ll find out more after the holiday. Happy holidays, all ye homeless. 


Consumer warning

It must be the Christmas spirit that has the opinions flowing this week; this will be short and sweet.

We think the Tiny Houses being constructed by the Low Income Housing Institute are a great idea, and definitely better than a tent.  We also think marijuana is just dandy, either recreationally or for people who use it for its medical benefits that conservatives like to deny exist.

But when Seattle pot baron Ian Eisenberg teamed up with LIHI to offer a special pack of joints to support these Tiny Houses, we had to be skeptical. Who’s getting the better end of the deal, we asked.

The packs sell for $23, for which LIHI gets $3 for every unit sold. A Tiny House costs a little less than $2,500 to build. So, basically it takes more than 800 packs to build a home. Do the math. If you want to help LIHI, just give a donation and bypass the smoke screen.