Capitol Hill things to watch in Seattle budget ‘balancing package’ include homelessness outreach, ‘Community Health Engagement Location’ — UPDATE

Some big decisions were made Tuesday across the United States. Wednesday in City Council chambers will bring some big decisions for Seattle as representatives shake out the final roster of additions, tweaks, and cuts to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 2019-2020 budget proposal.

Included in the “green sheet” decision day is a proposal for the money sought by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and business community to support a homeless outreach worker in the neighborhood and some spends championed by District 3 rep Kshama Sawant including a bid to add $440,000 in 2019 to help finalize a decision on a location for a “Community Health Engagement Location” — a long-sought “safe consumption” site proponents say would help address problems with addiction and health in the city.

UPDATE: The proposed balancing package has been released including good news for the Capitol Hill homelessness outreach request and progress on a Seattle “CHEL”:

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‘We really need to have a timeline here’ — Seattle shifting safe consumption plan to mobile ‘community health engagement’ van

Thursday afternoon just after 1 PM, Seattle Fire medics fought to revive a 29-year-old found unconscious after overdosing inside his 10th Ave E apartment. He was taken to Harborview in critical condition. Another rescue took place just blocks away Sunday as medics revived an overdose victim on the Bobby Morris playfield. Wednesday morning, Seattle Fire could not revive a man in his 20s who died of an overdose at a homeless camp in the greenbelt below Capitol Hill’s Louisa Boren Lookout.

Thursday at City Hall, a Seattle City Council committee heard an update from the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force on its progress to form a plan to help stem the tide of overdoses with a safe consumption site in the city where people addicted to drugs can come and shoot up — and not be alone. But the years-long process is still not close to finding a site for such a facility, officials said Thursday. The new plan, if the city wants to get something in place anytime soon, officials say, is to buy and deploy a “community health engagement” van that would be deployed daily to a dedicated site but would not roam the city.

“When we began to look at all the various options we realized the city doesn’t own a lot of buildings and the buildings we do own often times community centers or park related centers,” task force member Jeff Sakuma, Mayor’s Office said Thursday. “And obviously those would not be appropriate types of building sites.” Continue reading

Seattle set to go it alone on safe consumption

Left Behind

Seattle will stand alone in the effort to create safe consumption sites in King County — and there’s a push to utilize existing county health facilities in the city to do it.

The most recent maneuverings in the political process around creating the sites aimed at curbing the rising tide of opiate-related overdoses has left Seattle standing alone with officials pushing for the first site to be located at an existing King County public health center in the city. Continue reading

Broadway businesses will pay to keep homeless outreach team in place

Money is running out on a program to provide outreach workers to help with problems around homelessness and addiction on Capitol Hill. A business group is stepping up to foot the bill — for now. (Image: CHS)

Broadway businesses are banding together to keep what they say is a vital service –Outreach workers on the streets of Capitol Hill talking with people suffering a mental health crisis or struggling with homelessness — in place as City Hall funding for the program comes to an end.

But as it finds a new way to pay for the service, the Broadway group may also need to find a new organization to provide the outreach workers.

For the past two years, the Broadway Business Improvement Area has contracted with downtown’s Metropolitan Improvement District to staff a crew of outreach workers who can help handle the day to day crises of homelessness, mental health, and addiction that arise along Broadway. The money to expand the effort from downtown to Capitol Hill came from then-Mayor Ed Murray’s office after some creative budgeting moved existing funding into place to support the outreach workers. The effort followed promises made in the wake of a shooting at Broadway and Pike to bring more services to Pike/Pine to help free up East Precinct officers who found themselves on the front lines of Seattle’s homelessness crisis.

But, by the end of March, the Broadway BIA will now be footing the bill to support the outreach through the end of 2018. 2019? Part of that will likely be decided by how the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to expand the BIA across the entire Hill is working out. Continue reading

Seattle safe consumption study answers how big and how much — but not where

Safe consumption advocates took their message to I-5 last month

The easiest answers to the hardest questions surrounding the creation of a safe consumption site in Seattle will be on the table as a City Council committee hears updates on how much space is needed and how much it will cost to acquire or lease a property for the facility hoped to help stem the tide of opiate-related overdoses.

Where to locate it? That’s not on the board — yet.

Teresa Mosqueda’s Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee is slated for a Thursday morning briefing on the Safe Consumption Site Feasibility Study at the center of $1.3 million in city funding to help get a site running in Seattle.

Officials now know how much space and what features the facility will need (PDF) — “2,000 square feet, with space for approximately 10 consumption stations, offices for the facility manager, clinical providers and social workers, needle exchange, reception, waiting rooms, restrooms storage and utility space.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | An I-5 overpass message on safe consumption

The campaign to educate and address misunderstandings about creating safe consumption spaces in Seattle and King County is taking to the streets — and highways. Last Wednesday night, a group from Yes to SCS took its message to the Denny overpass of I-5.

Wednesday morning, another Yes to SCS effort posted a booth with volunteer health workers at the entrance to Capitol Hill Station to talk with commuters about the facilities where users can use drugs indoors with trained medical staff on hand to help prevent fatal overdoses, reduce the spread of disease from dirty needles, and connect addicts to drug treatment services. If you are interested in getting involved, the Yes to SCS group is holding a volunteer night Thursday where you can learn more.

Seattle has $1.3 million allocated in its 2018 budget for studying and starting a safe consumption site in Seattle, addressing the location and costs for the site, who will pay for it, and how it will be run. The City Council is slated to begin shaping recommendations into an implementation plan later this month.

Yes to SCS gears up campaign for ‘Safe Consumption Space’ in Seattle

A group of the city’s rockers will be at the heart of a new campaign to promote “safe consumption space” in Seattle.

Yes to SCS announced the start of a new outreach campaign Wednesday that will include musicians and Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper intended to “highlight the lifesaving benefit of building a safe consumption space (SCS) in the City of Seattle.”

Seattle has $1.3 million allocated in its 2018 budget for studying and starting a safe consumption site in Seattle, addressing the location and costs for the site, who will pay for it, and how it will be run. Continue reading

Who, where, how much? What we’ll learn from Seattle safe consumption site ‘feasibility study’

With $1.3 million allocated in the 2018 budget for studying and building a safe consumption site in Seattle, staff at city and county agencies are gearing up to draft the “feasibility study,” a report that will address location and costs for the site, who will pay for it, and how it will be run.

As noted in the $1.3 million budget amendment sponsored by Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson (District 4–Wallingford, University District), the report “must include a full cost estimate and a location for siting that HSD deems viable, and a scope and timeline of necessary capital improvements to create the Safe Consumption Site.”

Additionally, the budget amendment stated that the facility will provide, among other things: “supplies and space for consuming illicit drugs via injection, smoking or sublimation, and nasal inhalation”, overdose treatment (e.g. Naloxone), syringe exchange services, basic medical treatment, wraparound social services and case management, and sexual health supplies. Continue reading

Seattle plans $1.3M safe consumption space feasibility study in 2018

An Insite “supervised injection site” in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

Capitol Hill residents and businesses have been looking for new solutions to the opiate addiction crisis. You can only call 911 so many times to take care of somebody overdosing and you can only pick up so many needles before you look for better ways to help. In 2018, Seattle plans to spend the money to figure out how to put one new solution into place.

Tucked into the 2018 budget passed last week before the Thanksgiving holiday are funds allocated for “a feasibility study for siting a safe consumption site in Seattle.” Capitol Hill is considered by some to be a prime area to host the facility.

It’s officially called a Supervised Consumption Space (SCS), a public health facility where people who are living with substance disorders can use drugs in a medically supervised environment while gaining access to treatment and other services. Services often include caseworkers, mental health counselors and referrals. Seattle would be the first in the U.S. to have an SCS.

A mother with a strong Capitol Hill connection supports the effort.  Continue reading

A new item for your Capitol Hill first aid kit — overdose antidote

As Seattle officials spar over how to pay for safe consumption sites and where to put them, you might consider a new tool to add to your Capitol Hill safety and first aid kit. In late October, drugstore chain Walgreens announced it would begin stocking naloxone in its stores across the country. CHS bought a kit to find out what’s inside — and, hopefully, be ready to help.

Sold under the Narcan brand, the nasal spray “antidote” can reverse the effects of opioid including heroin and prescription painkillers. For $82, the kit we purchased comes with a syringe and an attachment for the nasal spray. Each kit is good for two applications. You’ll find directions inside and online training videos like this one, below, from Kelley-Ross Pharmacies, which also stocks the kits. Meanwhile, free kits are available via King County Health and organizations like The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance.

Nasal naloxone kits are now standard issue for Seattle bike cops after a pilot program proved their efficacy.

Officials continue to work toward opening safe consumption sites in King County and Seattle. Opioid and heroin abuse, meanwhile, remains a massive public safety issue for the city.