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Trespass stats, storefront homeless camps point to increase in people living on streets of Capitol Hill

Locals are reporting an increase in homeless people making places to live around Capitol Hill’s core business districts — and trespass data reports from SPD back that up — but officials tell CHS it is difficult to say what is happening and where perception vs. reality starts when it comes to the campers of Broadway and Pike/Pine.

“There aren’t easy solutions for how to deal with street encampments,” said Sgt. Jay Shin of the East Precinct Community Police Team.

“In the last couple of years, we have noticed an increase.”

In reporting about the camping issue, CHS is worried about doing more harm than good. Even as we began collecting information on the issue, CHS saw the potential to do harm as a few emails and phone calls with local officials and the Seattle Police Department in recent weeks were followed by morning dispatches for officers to rouse campers from Broadway and Pike/Pine storefronts and move homeless people — usually with no place to go — along. But as you’ll see in the stats, below, SPD officers are being called out on a regular basis to deal with campers.

Meanwhile, readers continue to ask what is happening — and what is being done:

Broadway and the side streets are getting out of control.  Apparently it is now alright to simply block the sidewalk and camp for weeks on end. At Broadway and Republican there is usually a camp of 3 to 6 people all day and night every day. The long vacated Broadway restaurant also houses a large camp most days.

What does appear to be happening is a big jump in reports of trespassing on Capitol Hill and the East Precinct — and a growing focus on people living on the streets of Capitol Hill. In recent years, SPD has been aggressive in deploying its trespass program with local businesses to make it easier to have people removed from private property. It’s not a completely pure proxy for homelessness around the Hill as it includes people 86’d for behavior but in our anecdotal examination of the records and East Precinct radio traffic, CHS believes it provides a measure of the situation.

In 2013 and 2014, the East Precinct recorded approximately the same number of trespassing reports in January, February, March and April  — around 3 a day —  a huge jump over the same period in 2012. But as a percentage of the total trespass incidents reported across Seattle, Capitol Hill and the East Precinct has pulled out to an unfortunate distinction. In 2014, the East Precinct was responsible for nearly 27% of SPD’s trespassing dispatches.

It’s a number that is apparently climbing. This top chart shows the percentage of Seattle trespass incidents reported in the East Precinct in January through April over the past three years.imageimage (2) image (1)

This heat map from the SPD dispatch data shows where the 2014 incidents were reported in the city as a whole.



Shin said the increased focus on the trespassing problem is definitely a factor in the rising numbers for Capitol Hill. But he said SPD believes there are other important factors in the trends.

“Part of it is increasing numbers of people coming into the city from other cities and other states,” he said. “There’s a huge influx of people.”

If Shin and SPD are correct, homeless camping as a function of population joins Capitol Hill’s list of challenges and, we suppose, opportunities as increasing density and demand for places to live envelopes the neighborhoods of Central Seattle.

More important is what is being done to give people better options for a place to sleep.

Shin said the laws are limited and for many campers, the police intervention is part of an endless circle of being pushed about. Often police arrive with services and resources on offer. Sometimes campers takes them up on it. Sometimes campers don’t.

For those who want a place in a shelter, demand is as high as ever — the annual One Night Count of homeless people sleeping without shelter in King County showed a 14% jump in 2014. While King County’s “10 Year Plan to End Homelessness” provides what framework it can to stem federal and state budget cuts, more nimble efforts like the Nickelsville camps in the Central District provide some near-term help. Some other creative ideas for more beds might be considered. But as rough as things might be for the homeless in Seattle, life outside the city is even more challenging. The city’s economic strength has also left it as the location for more than 90% of the county’s emergency shelter beds.

In the meantime, one Hill business manager says she is learning to live with the new neighbors. “As long as they move before I open, I tell them it’s OK,” she said.

UPDATE 5/9/14: Here’s one reaction to our report — the property owners of the old Broadway Grill building have gated off a popular Broadway camp site.IMG_4738

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83 thoughts on “Trespass stats, storefront homeless camps point to increase in people living on streets of Capitol Hill

    • What is the point of this comment? Homelessness isn’t strictly connected with housing prices. Many homeless have mental issues that prevent them from obtaining or holding employment. This has nothing to do with Amazon. I hope you are some type of troll trying to insight trouble and not really that dense.

      • This issue is something that is important to me. I’m not saying that people can’t make jokes about it, but I guess I would hope they would at lease be funny. I’m not saying that I think it is poor taste. It just is not funny.

      • you need to seriously get a grip and lighten up. how could you possibly care that much about another’s observation? who cares if you think it’s funny or offensive or ill informed?

        i am a mental health social worker who has worked in the shelters and psych wards around, so this issue is also important to me. I found the first comment to be perfectly legit, if not just a little bit true. you fail to mention the healthcare workers who serve these populations who do not get paid a living wage and often times find themselves in the same boat of poverty.

      • @pod, Mark is NOT joking, after 26+ years of living on The Hill, I had to move to a slightly cheaper neighborhood & I am still in danger of losing my home because I earn 1/3 of what I did before the melt down & among my friends I am the lucky one.You fools can all go back to where you are from,we did Not invite you!

      • Can you be more specific about “You fools”-? Is it just people that work at Amazon? Or everyone that moved here after you did.?

      • There is a correlation between homelessness and housing costs. The late Prof. John Quiqley at Cal studied the issue in the 1990s and found that even modest reductions in the supply of low-cost housing had significant effects on increasing homelessness.

      • Thank you for backing up you comment with some information. I wasn’t trying to imply that rising housing costs had no affect. But they are not the only cause. Others include there being more military veterans and cuts to the Dept. of Vet. Affairs, more people serving jail time and then having trouble finding housing later, and many other reasons. My comment was meant to point out it is silly to respond to the growing homeless population with a “Thanks Amazon.”

    • The more units are built, the lower the rents. Flood the market with available units and they will compete for tenants. But since that would mean building more condos and apartments, “anti-gentrifiers” are against it. Makes no sense.

      • That absolutely does not work if all of the units you are “flooding” the market with are upmarket, high rent buildings. They might compete to a point, but with the amount of wealth pouring into Seattle, there is no shortage of people willing to snap up these places. And unless we seriously built skyscrapers of them, or there is some sort of serious economic decline in this town, it never will.

      • And if new units are not built, where will all of those wealthy people live? Chances are good that many will rent existing apartments, driving up the rents anyway.

  1. Bullshit. These aren’t former Cap Hill residents.

    I am a former Cap Hill resident! And this is one of the biggest reason I left this crappy town. I couldn’t walk to QFC without being harassed by homeless people and drug addicts. Some hippy homeless chick even had the balls to ask me if I had any “spare chips or beers” after I left QFC with a shopping bag. The last straw was when I saw a homeless guy fast asleep, camped out in my car port.

    My wife was scared to death to walk to the store with all the crazies and druggies everywhere. Cap Hill is truly a crap hole.

      • Crappy town? Mike you no longer live here. Your opinion of current conditions, and how to handle pretty meaninglessness to those of us who still live here.

      • currentresident, he’s not wrong. It’s WORSE than it was just 2 years ago. I no longer shop at QFC after 7 or 8 pm. Just last night a fellow about 6’4″ was outside the front door of QFC bullying people for money.

        many of us choose to continue to live here because we understand that many of the homeless do indeed have mental health issues, but to imply Mike is an ass because he and his wife moved to a safer area is insensitive as well.

      • You’re right. I’ve lived here for many years, and there clearly is an uptick in the homeless population (and all their crap) along Broadway. This does happen every spring but it is much worse this year.

        I question the validity of the claim that “shelters are full.” What is the evidence for this often-repeated claim? Yes, during really cold weather the shelters fill up, but otherwise (such as in spring and summer) beds are available. And for those who say that the homeless avoid shelters because they are not pleasant places, you are very naïve. The real reason, most of the time, is that shelters do not allow drugs or alcohol.

  2. I have lived and worked in Capitol Hill for nearly over 8 years. I find your statements hyperbolic, insensitive, and offensive. It is reminiscent of the language used by people during white flight. No wants to come off as a racist, but it is fine to be prejudice against those in a lower class.

    • There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be screwed with as you leave your grocery store. Folks camp here because they can…plain and simple. We shouldn’t tolerate people piling their Crap in a huge mountain on a city sidewalk. Come on Seattle, we have to ha e some standards of behavior…it’s ok….noone will take away your compassion card

      • Most people hold signs and don’t say anything. A few ask with less enthusiasm and dedication than the people with clip boards trying to save the world. People leaving bars and clubs are more rowdy and openly drunk than any homeless person I ever see. What are you standards exactly? Keep all the dirty people out of sight and out of mind? I think homelessness is a real problem in this city but people’s complaints seem to often be about the fact that they are an eyesore and not that the city isn’t doing enough to stop the problem. Also, I like how you want to keep your “compassion card” without actually being compassionate.

      • I don’t get it.

        According to the article, these are not local homeless people. People are coming from all over the country, using our neighborhood as their preferred destination to be homeless — by choice. Often they are observed doing drugs and other illegal behaviors in open view.

        Why should I consider it a prerequisite of compassion to tolerate people drugging out in my backyard, or preventing tax-paying families from using Cal Anderson Park because it’s full of drug needles and crazy people?

        You Americans really have a really crazy idea of what a vibrant neighborhood really means.

      • II don’t get it [The only thing we agree].

        According to the article, these are not local homeless people [So you are okay with homeless people as long as they use to live in the neighborhood?]. People are coming from all over the country, using our neighborhood as their preferred destination to be homeless — by choice [“People that are homeless are so full of choices. What I want to know is why don’t they just choose not to be homeless? Am I right?”]. Often they are observed doing drugs and other illegal behaviors in open view [This can be said about a large amount of people leaving bars on Friday and Saturday night].

        Why should I consider it a prerequisite of compassion [“Why be compassionate to people that need it the most?”] to tolerate people drugging out in my backyard, or preventing tax-paying families from using Cal Anderson Park because it’s full of drug needles and crazy people [I don’t know when you are going to Cal Anderson, but when I go there it is full of people, kids, dogs, and a bunch of fun. Yes there are homeless people there but they are keeping to themselves and are less noticeable than the bongo players]?

        You Americans really have a really crazy idea of what a vibrant neighborhood really means [no we don’t].

      • Dude, if you like to be surrounded by piss, shit and violence — it sounds like you might just want to live in a prison restroom?

        As for the rest of us, there are indeed many of us want our families to be able to live in a safe, healthy place, and where our kids don’t have to step onto human feces on the way to school, and where we don’t need to take gun-ownership classes to defend our homes after having in them.

    • Dude. My friend works at a bank. Every day there is a tent in front of their door. The people sleeping there vomit and piss all over the entrance to their business. This is not ok. Businesses pay taxes, hire people…perform needed services. It is not ok to allow every business to have it’s front door used as an open toilet. Not only is it not sanitary, it isn’t fair to the people who work at or own that business.

      I am sorry you are homeless, please don’t take sloppy dumps on the sidewalk and leave piles of trash blocking the sidewalk. Being disadvantaged is not an excuse to use Seattle as your personal toilet.

      • “I am sorry you are homeless” but I am going to judge you on things that you have no control over and would not do unless you and no choice. Trust me “I am sorry you are homeless” but can you just go someplace where no one is going to see you? I understand that doorways are warmer and dryer than other places, but life would be so much easier if we didn’t have to encounter the negative outcomes of our current society.

      • Homeless people don’t have control over where they choose to piss and vomit? Because the last time I checked, even the mentally ill ones had working legs.

  3. I’ve lived on the south side of Capitol Hill since 1978. There were homeless people camping out in back yards, homeless people in vacant lots, and I even found a homeless guy who had made a pretty nifty home under our front porch. He made a delightful dinner guest, and politely moved when asked.

    The numbers are definitely up, all around the city. And we’re probably experiencing some compassion fatigue. We want to blame something, especially homeless people themselves. There are plenty of mentally ill people who aren’t homeless, and loads of drunks who live in big houses on Capitol Hill. There aren’t enough low-cost options for poor people. The shelters are full because people can’t find affordable housing. Meanwhile, we love that mortgage interest deduction, don’t we?

  4. There seems to be growing trend of camper-vans or people living in their vans on the street (I’m on 10th near Prospect). They are there for days at a time, and come with a fair share of suspicious activity (which includes some of the hoarding/camping on the sidewalk too).
    While sympathetic to the situation as a whole it’s unnerving to find people nosing through your trash at 7am, sleeping on your back steps, etc in what used to be a quiet part of the hill.

  5. There was a sweep of the homeless encampments in “The Jungle” on Beacon Hill around mid-2012 or so. Its possible some of the rise of the “camping” homeless on Capitol Hill is a side effect of those folks being pushed out of the Jungle and other overpass areas. There were also 3 Nickelsville camps that were set up last year in the Central Area, some of which have already been closed. And I’d expect those folks didn’t disappear when the camps were closed – they just relocated elsewhere.

    Another complication is a potential tipping point effect – enough campers may be establishing themselves on the Hill that word is spreading that the Hill is a place to go to camp out.

    • I suspect you are right. This isn’t a shelter shortage issue; a lot of people simply won’t go to shelters because they are freaking gross and terrifying. Plenty of people prefer the community, freedom and relative safety that comes from camping. I think more organized tent cities instead of less would be helpful, but there’s so much NUMBY bullshit that I can’t imagine that it would happen.

  6. “In every American community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects, ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.”-Phil Ochs

  7. Is anyone going to offer up some viable ideas on how to fix/improve the problem? Or just argue back-and-fourth…?

    • If we made getting, and staying, on mental health meds for people with the most serious issues (many of the homeless I work with are schizophrenic) actually possible for people who are impaired, rather than a Kafkaesque maze of hoops and hurry up and wait, come back in 6 weeks, trials that would boggle someone who isn’t ill much less someone who is suffering, that might help. It’s hard to show up for your multiple appointments to get housing and SSI, etc. when you’re hearing voices and believe you’re being hunted and don’t know where you are because you’re off your meds. But the Right continues to think mental illness is a choice and the Left enables the financial abandonment of the mentally ill by insisting it’s some sort of artistic, higher plane state and that meds are bad, or a form of mind control or other hooey. All you have to do is get to know someone who is violent, hallucinating, afraid and paranoid and then see them actually on their meds. It will break your heart the next time you see them off of them. Yet, we continue to make getting and maintaining care impossibly complex and compassionless. Thanks Reagan, and everyone thereafter.

  8. Other cities have right to shelter laws – people are guaranteed an emergency shelter bed by law. They couple that with much tighter enforcement – go to shelter, go to jail, or go to the hospital, but you can’t camp on the street.

    It’s harder to think about doing that here, where our shelters are full and we have nothing to offer people. Because truly, where are they supposed to go and what are they supposed to do?

    I agree that our current situation is completely unacceptable. I don’t think we’re doing anyone any favors by letting it continue, and I don’t think it makes me a bigot for saying so. A lot would have to change to make it different. I wonder if people really want that.

    By the way, other than the seasonal return of the street kids, there’s no evidence that people are coming here from other places to be homeless.

    • I don’t think someone is bigoted for saying the current situation is unacceptable. I just found several of the above posts filled with derogatory language about people in a tough situation.

      • Fair enough!

        I would just like to see the discussion move a bit to focus on why we have so many people on the streets and (many) other cities don’t. Enforcement, yes that’s part of it. And, I get it, I really do. We have a problem. But other cities are doing tighter enforcement in the context of being able to offer people at least the option to go to shelter (however imperfect).

        Pure criminalization seems to me like it’s pretty much at the intersection of unethical and expensive.

      • I agree. Having the police ticket people only adds to their economic problems and is a waste of time for the police.

      • A community police officer told me that they don’t bother to issue tickets for the multiple civil infractions by the homeless because 1) they don’t pay the tickets anyway; and 2) the City Prosecutor has a policy of NOT going after those who don’t pay.

      • “City Prosecutor has a policy of NOT going after those who don’t pay.”

        And what would be the point of doing so? These folk don’t have the money and a few days in jail will not faze them.

    • In the body of this post, a community service officer is quoted as saying that there is a large influx of homeless from other places. I think he should know.

      I wonder if this influx is partly due to our pot legalization. If homeless/street people in other states hear about this, perhaps they conclude that liberal Seattle will tolerate just about anything, and so they migrate here. Just a thought.

  9. People are complaining about those who are homeless begging for money and holding out signs. I walk to work every day from Capitol Hill to downtown and I am never bothered. In fact, I often carry small bills and non-perishable food in my backpack when I can in case someone asks for money or food. These are human beings, after all, regardless of where they came from or how they got where they are.

    What I *am* bothered by is the preponderance of signs that practically every business and condo on the hill now puts out along practically every stretch of sidewalk, and often in clusters at every corner, sometimes blocks from the business or building responsible. What is that, if not begging? These signs more often than not block the flow of pedestrian traffic and more often than not block safe entrances to crosswalks.

    When I see someone in front of me with a sign that says “spare money for food?” I will give them money or food. When I see a sign that says Mamnoon or Homegrown blocking the crosswalk entrance, I refuse to patronize those businesses – ever. Because one is begging out of necessity, the other is begging out of greed.

  10. I’m not sure I’ve noticed that a large surge in the number of homeless people that I see in the area, what I have noticed is that whereas before they were staying elsewhere and panhandling the Capitol Hill area during the day, now they are bringing a large amount of stuff with them and setting up semi-permanent encampments in whom ever’s doorway that they aren’t immediately evicted from. Aside from the other problems that it may cause, it can be rather unsanitary. I know I have seen human excrement on the sidewalk and I’m sure everyone has had the experience of walking by a doorway that reeks of urine.

    I can also very much understand people’s reluctance to use city parks at this time. Many of them have become open congregation/camping grounds for homeless people and it’s pretty well accepted that many of these people have mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Aside from the sanitation issues that street camping causes (I know I’ve seen human excrement on the sidewalk – dogs don’t use TP… and we’ve all had the experience of walking past a doorway that reeks of urine) It’s Pollyannaish to pretend that they are all simply good, harmless people who have been affected by the economy.

    • “I’m sure everyone has had the experience of walking by a doorway that reeks of urine.”-Yes, and most the times the people I see peeing in public they are walking home from a bar, party or some other social event.

      “I can also very much understand people’s reluctance to use city parks at this time. “-I can’t. Have been there several times over the past couple weeks. People playing bike polo, basketball, baseball, soccer, frisbee, chess, and generally just hanging out. We are having a good time, you should stop by.

      “pretty well accepted that many of these people have mental health and/or substance abuse issues.” Did you mean pretty well assumed? I don’t accept things based on prejudices.

      As far as your comment “It’s Pollyannaish to pretend that they are all simply good, harmless people who have been affected by the economy.” Jeezus. It is hard to even respond to that. So it would be okay for them to be homeless because of the economy, but not for other reasons? I really don’t understand what you mean by that. Can you please elaborate?

      • What I’m saying is that I think that it is quite unfair to judge people harshly for being afraid of the large groups of homeless people who are currently camping in our neighborhoods and city parks or aggressively panhandling in front of the stores.

        While not all of them may be a threat, many of them clearly are mentally ill and/or substance abusers. Studies have shown up to 80% of chronically homeless have substance abuse issues and 60% have a mental health problem. It’s not just some made up prejudice. While neither of these problems means a person will be dangerous, it certainly means it is not a ridiculous thing to be very cautious about them. You may feel comfortable in Cal Anderson Park, but there have absolutely been times that I have felt threatened or harassed by the people residing there.

        I’m not saying that these people don’t deserve help – they *need* help, help with addiction, help with their social problems. Allowing them to continue to sleep on the streets isn’t really helping them *and* it’s creating problems for the neighborhood. It’s not good for any of us.

      • And by help I don’t mean giving them money directly… that’s just enabling their current lifestyle. I have had the same experience of others at being rebuffed from giving a person food, bus tickets or something useful other than money.

        I’m more than happy to buy a real change – those are people who are helping themselves or give especially when a charity is asking for supplies, but I don’t think giving money to a panhandler is a good use of your charity.

      • The dude I saw taking a piss in a doorway at 10:30am wasn’t on his way home from a bar, but he sure reeked like it. And left a huge puddle for everybody else to step in. Yeah, he sure deserves my compassion.

  11. I wonder how many are Heroin addicts, because heroin is making a comeback of sorts across the country. Many start using it after no longer being able to afford the prescription pain killers they got addicted too in the first place. I can see that leading to homelessness really easily.

    • The ones lining up at the methadone clinic are the heroin addicts. The rest are veterans, victims of abuse, the mentally ill and children aged out of foster care whom we abandon before they even graduate from high school. And no, the food banks are not sufficient to feed each of them daily nor do we have enough shelter beds by a long, long shot. You believe that those trying to get back on their feet are at the food banks…and storing the food where? Showering where? Preparing for job interviews where? Getting mental health care where? It’s a lot more complicated than “they’re all drug addicts if they’re asking for money.”

  12. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. As a former Civil Rights attorney I respect the need for people to be reasonably free. However too many of the homeless who are more homeless by design than circumstance are running around this town and committing major and minor crimes, including much vandalism to our home and vehicles, including setting fire to my motorcycle. All of which is ironic considering all of the crime videos I did last year after moving here, some with city council and city police. Watch them here,

    ….and as you watch them know that I am soon posting the video of how City Council rudely cut me off when I was trying to conclude my presentation last week about this. Which is insane because many of these city councilors during election time attended my forum on underwater and foreclosure that was moderated by Ansel Herz and co-hosted by SAFE in Seattle, Financial Revival Group and attorneys Scott Stafne and Jeff Jared.

    PS: And oh, we even hosted a crime awareness meeting in our building with Sgt. Ballingham. Two days later my girlfriend’s car windshield, and that of 20 other cars, was shattered. It’s one of the videos below. Then when some drunken guy — much bigger than me, like 6’2″ 260 to my 5’10” 170 in our building who is off his meds put his hands on me and threatened my girlfriend and me two weeks ago Sgt. Hall says without physical harm no prosecutor will charge him. Kind of makes me wish I had taken out his kneecap instead of de-escalating the situation. They are evicting him, but still that was an assault, d*mmit. SPD and the prosecutors office bear some responsibility here.

    • There’s no money in busting homeless people for anything. The police are not here to “protect and serve” they are here to “collect and enforce”. If you commit a crime, you’ll spend lots of money to stay out of jail. If they commit a crime, nothing. And the cops are fat, and their fat wives and fat kids (one with immune issues from vaccinations the other with diabetes from high fructose) need that paid-for health care so they don’t care about arresting people from whom they get no money.

      Now, do you keep groveling to the state for help that won’t come? I have watched cities go down with everybody still trying to row a sinking boat.

    • I don’t understand, are you blaming all these crimes on homeless people? I followed your link and there is a video about somneone’s car getting stolen and you mention “thugs” knocking over your motorcycle. Do you believe homeless people did this?

      Your interaction with “some drunken guy” is about a guy that lives in your building. What does that have to do with homelessness on the rise in Capitol Hill. Unless there is a connecting between that and the fact that his guy who was “off his meds” according to you [is that a fact or just an insult?] was evicted.

      I really don’t see how any of the examples you bring up are related to this article. Please explain.

  13. My two cents’ worth: I’m not going to criticize someone’s compassion and decency when they give money to beggars on the street. But I’d like to point out that you’ll get a whole lot more bang for your charitable buck if you donate that money to organizations directly helping the homeless, such as the DESC and the Orion Center. These organizations are helping the homeless with job training, apartments, drug treatment, etc. If you give a guy a dollar, well…he could get food, or he could get more booze and drugs. I know this because I have offered food to some beggars, and been turned down. Cash only for some folks, it seems. Hmmmm. So as a rule, I don’t hand out spare change (unless it’s for a Real Change newspaper). I’d recommend giving your cash to organizations that are working hard to get people off the street.

  14. Ahh nothing like guilt white liberals. You get more homeless because you give them money. And giving them money is not a good idea. Giving money to and donating time to a shelter (if you care so much) will help better.

    But I bet that if someone wanted to build a new large homeless shelter in CH most of you would complain and try to stop it.

    Maybe if you elected a socialist democrat president, governor, and mayor… oh wait, you did.

    It’s your bed, you sleep in it.

    • “But I bet that if someone wanted to build a new large homeless shelter in CH most of you would complain and try to stop it.” Is there any historical evidence to go along with this statement?

      If you wanted to make fun of Capitol Hill residents for electing a Socialist government official you actually could have, but instead you make a list of people (“Maybe if you elected a socialist democrat president, governor, and mayor… oh wait, you did.”) and leave off city council. You have you facts so wrong it hurts your ability to lob an “insult.”

  15. Ha, that top photo is of the church on Broadway directly across from my apartment on Republican. It looks like that all the time, but especially on Thursdays, as that is when the church hosts a soup kitchen. Yesterday I couldn’t enter my apartment via Republican as it was raining and a group of them decided to take shelter under the tree that covers my doorway. (I just went around to 10th and used my other door. Thank god I have two.) I used to walk down Broadway in the mornings to catch my bus, but now I just walk down 10th to avoid the two or three block stretch of homeless campers, their belongings, and their shit.

  16. A lot of these posts seem to set two things against each other. A person can be compassionate and understand that homeless people may have mental issues, drug, issues, poverty, and other things that really need addressing while also not feeling safe walking the streets of the neighborhood constantly being lurched at by people aggressively panhandling, tripping over people sleeping in doorways, etc. It’s not unkind to wish that one could go to a public park without constant vigilance, to know that one was safe shopping past dark. I hope they all get help, but everyone needs relief from the situation–the homeless and the average citizens. This is not good for any of us.

  17. Living a block behind Broadway for the past 21 years it’s no secret mystery what happens. Every late April the migration of many homeless make their way up the coast to our more mild climate and summer on our streets and parks. That’s not to say there hasn’t been an increase the last year or that some aren’t locals, but many are transient in nature and will head back south come the October rains.
    I understand compassion and empathy, but after some attempts when I was younger to give coupons, food, etc, most was rebuffed so I stopped. Yes, many of the locals are mentally ill or down and out, but many of the more migratory homeless are obviously in the grips of substance abuse and I refuse to give my limited cash as a result.
    In addition, being woken up by homeless people in my back yard, or going through my trash, or shitting in my vegetable garden, or ranting walking down my neighbors driveway with their pants around their ankles starts to get old and the empathy starts to wear thin.
    I am a firm believer in restoring the funding that was taken away under Reagan and getting more mental health services back to help this community. Turning them out on the streets for the local community groups to figure out ways to fund and care for is cruel to all involved and obviously not working. With adequate mental health funding and services provided by the federal or state governments, the local communities would have more resources and energy to address the remaining needy.

  18. Given our lax drug policies and extraordinary city amennities it is not a surprise to me urban campers from the country and world relocate to Seattle. While these visitors are here this summer I plan to invite them to meals at my church to provide some stability, good food, and exposure to a more fulfilling lifestyle!

  19. A few facts to consider for figuring out how we got here in the first place.

    1. ex-mayor Nichols tried to take on the homeless issue and thus Nicklesville was born. The start of a political hot button.
    2. ex-Governor Gregoire chimes in and decides she wants no part in it so proclaims that SPD has no trespass authority on DOT property (jungle).
    3.New leadership takes over City Attorney’s office (elected twice). Direction goes towards social services instead of prosecuting for civility infractions.
    4. City council members decide to remove the camping ordinance from municipal code making it okay to camp in the city.
    5. SPD deserving or not takes a beating for their tactics in using force. The beating continues..
    6. Smoking pot becomes legal and Seattle is front page news.
    7. Good citizens continue to give money to homeless on the street.

    I do believe the lunatics are running the asylum. The human debris on the street are not the lunatics. Want change? Think about who you elect to lead your city.

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  22. Pingback: Another view of Capitol Hill homeless stats shows shift from downtown | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  23. I walked through capitol hill today after having a bite to eat. I often like to walk around to clear my head. Before I go on this rant, I want to note that I have a great deal of compassion for the homeless and give when I can. I’m not far above water myself, and ‘there but for the grace of God’ and all that. However.

    * I took a walk past the community college and watched two [apparently] homeless men get into a fight, involving actual punches, over drugs.
    * I watched a group of young men screaming to one another about where to find meth.
    * I saw a young man at Dick’s openly selling drugs, casing for prospects, etc.
    * I saw a couple of younger people with gear in the park.

    The issue in Capitol Hill isn’t just about homelessness anymore, it’s about drugs. I don’t contest the homeless’ right to exist without being harassed or to occupy space. I do take issue with people openly buying, selling, and using drugs in a very public place. And I don’t particularly care if they’re homeless or not, except that the homeless ones can’t really find help.

    The complete lack of a police presence doesn’t help matters much either. There’s a source from where these twisted products flow and that’s where the police should be focused.

  24. An interesting fact that parallels into the issues addressed in the CHS blogs housing page, is that the Major did generously give extra funds to the metro transit in the form of an extra $550000.
    BUT, only to the “night owls” lines. Since it was ‘discovered’ that a lot of homeless like to hangout on them at night…
    Result: grosser and dirtier buses for everyone and still no real place for the homeless to get help!

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