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Sawant makes one last 2020 budget push to cut encampment sweeps team

The City Council’s final batch of proposed additions, cuts, and changes to the Seattle budget are on the table and District 3’s newly victorious incumbent Kshama Sawant is behind several of the options up for final debate.

Seattle City Council insight reports that most of the more than 40 items introduced Wednesday involve restrictions on the the use of already-budgeted funds, “provisos that prevent the expenditure of certain funds until some condition is met,” or statements of legislative intent.

But a dozen other proposals could represent “substantive changes” to the $6.5 billion 2020 budget including a few from Sawant’s office. In one particularly illustrative example, the D3 rep proposes redirecting $420,000 currently earmarked for “outreach” related to a proposed downtown congestion pricing program to fund eviction legal defense.

Sawant is also proposing to cut $522,000 from funding for SPD recruitment to pay for youth diversion programs and reintroduced her biggest 2020 budget push — cutting the $8.6 million Navigation Team responsible for the city’s encampment sweeps and redirecting the funding to create 14 additional tiny home villages.

Prior to Wednesday’s budget session, Sawant held a “Renters Rights and Restorative Justice” rally to gather supporters to speak about the initiatives.

The council must still meet to vote on the dozen of proposed cuts and redirections — and the dozens more other potential tweaks — before the final council budget committee meeting slated for November 25th.

You can read more about the proposals from SCCI here.

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17 thoughts on “Sawant makes one last 2020 budget push to cut encampment sweeps team

    • What happens when the camps become so squalid that no human being should be subjected to living there? What happens when the residents of these camps refuse services? Are we to just leave them there to rot? That seems less than compassionate to me. Currently this team is the only mechanism the city has to reach out to camp residents to offer an array of services and shelter. Should we just stop doing that, and hope that camp residents will eventually seek these out themselves? And in the meantime, what about the impacts on other residents, businesses, organizations, and the ecosystem?

      I would strongly suggest that anyone wanting to defund the Nav Team read the camp cleanup reports, if you are unfamiliar with the conditions in many of them (I am not, because there’s a massive one right behind my office, so I have a first-person view of what goes on there, and what the conditions are like). The reports are publicly available here:

      • I’ve found this “live and let live” crowd is usually made up of naive college kids, anti-capitalist ideologues & east coast elites who have no idea what those conditions are; so, thanks for bringing a small dose of eyewitness reality to this gullible gang, Nord. Also, there is one more group opposed to camp clean-ups & services referrals: the thieves, pimps, dealers, addicts and anarchists who live and operate out of those tents who “just want to be left alone” so they can continue making money by exploiting the disadvantaged people who choose to live outdoors. The average Seattleite will walk by those tents and assume they are indicators of poverty; but those who choose to actually educate themselves will be surprised at the large amount of cash flowing through those encampments. The tents are mostly just cheap and easy camouflage, used by smart (devious) people to fool the easily fooled liberals, idealists and leftists among us.

  1. I’m very concerned about the humanitarian crises that could hit these encampments. I think there should be outreach agencies to help encourage those in the encampments to seek out help and maintain health standards.

    Drug, mental health and other services are there if you are ready to seek it out.

    • Not really, I have Medicare and Kaiser Permanente, it is a bleak prospect trying to find reliable, meaning at least every other week, counseling , and I pay$100 a month premium over Medicare.

      • Yes. I have two kids who have different MH issues. ONe is on the spectrum and one has pretty much opted out of life. Every day I need to argue with all the institutions, public and private, to do their jobs for my kids.

    • Not nearly enough…. there are far too few rehab beds for the number of people that really need them and the reforms of the 1980’s decimated our mental health care ….

      While, yes, the system was dysfunctional in many ways at the time, simply throwing it away and not properly funding alternative means of care has resulted in far too many people with serious disorders ending up on the streets rather than getting the help they need. The current crop of those who would like to label themselves as progressive, take what I would call not a progressive, but rather a libertarian stance of neglect in the name of personal choice…. I contend that with a disordered mind, choice has little to do with it… one first has to be rational to make a choice. I’m not advocating going back to the bad old days of locking away people with even minor mental health problems…. but it is clear that community based and effectively voluntary programs have not worked, especially for the most affected people – we clearly need an intermediate level of care for those who really cannot do for themselves.

      • I get that.We need a measured approach where citizens in the city and the homeless are safe and getting the assistance they need.

        I appreciate the complexity of the situation.

  2. Because leaving troubled people alone in squalor to sell drugs, stolen bikes & young girls… and to overdose, get raped & get hit by cars at freeways speed… is just so compassionate.

  3. There she goes again. If anyone hoped that Sawant would be more rational in her third term… way!

    The Navigation Team is one of the few City programs which actually make a difference. They need more funding, not less.

    • No, Bob, it’s super inhumane. All it does is move people around. It’s just rich people not wanting to look at poor people. All it boils down to.

      These people need help. Leave the camps! We’re a sanctuary city!

      • Come now…. you know the term ‘sanctuary city’ has nothing to do with homelessness – it means that the police won’t ask your immigration status, nor will they turn you over to ICE unless you have a criminal warrant.

        It does not and should not mean that people are permitted to destroy themselves on our streets. This is not compassion… it is neglect.

      • Nothing is more humane than letting people rot, die of curable diseases and provide a way for child trafficking to occur in broad daylight. Yes, we should all just let people die in Seattle. We don’t want to hurt the feelings of incompetent people who voted for a Marxist that’s profiting from addicts and homeless who suffer from mental health issues. Let’s just be ignorant, people shouldn’t be moved to shelters with rules where they can get medical care and addiction treatment. This is Sawant’s SA overlord dream. Keep people under control by making them their pawns. It works for North Korea, why not Seattle.