1. Rapid Response to Unsheltered People
We must begin to solve our homelessness crisis by immediately implementing an emergency response with FEMA relief locations throughout the city to address homelessness as the State of Emergency that it is.These tents would have complete access to specialized mental and physical health services that previous establishments did not provide. Simultaneously, we must build a daytime-access policy into shelters so homeless individuals do not have to wander the city during the day. This policy also ensures a safe, reliable place to keep possessions. Both of these approaches will operate under a system that works around individual needs, and not the one-size-fits-all methodology currently used in Seattle. After fully implementing these complete-access solutions, the only way to ensure the crisis will improve is by enforcing no-street-camping regulations. If those struggling are provided a livable, sheltered environment with substance abuse treatment and services, they are more likely to find a path back to self-sufficiency and community.
- Creation of FEMA style support tents that provide around the clock access to resources for mental & physical health
- Providing specialized treatments for the purpose of helping as wide an array of problems as possible
- Working with shelters to provide daytime access and a place to store possessions for the homeless
- Redirecting individuals on the street to complete-access shelters/FEMA tents through which they can be efficiently helped.
What this could look like:
2. Rapid Housing & Employment for Seattle’s Economically Displaced
Seattle should champion creating employment opportunities for economically displaced homeless individuals as seen in other states. This can be done by providing sanitation jobs for city streets, parks, and buildings at $15/hour. Additionally, urging landlords to rent to homeless while incentivizing both small and large real estate holders to transition rental properties into lease-to-own options for tenants to increase housing availability. Seattle must partner with all of King County’s municipalities in order to address employment and housing.
- Creating sanitation jobs for those experiencing economic disparity for $15/hour
- Encouraging landlords to rent to homeless individuals
- Incentivizing small and large real estate owners to switch rentals into lease-to-buy properties.
*In 2017, data listed Seattle to have over 70% of unsheltered individuals counted in King County, yet Seattle has only 30% of King County’s population. Clearly, we need to be cooperating with our fellow cities and municipalities. *
3. Focusing on Recovery – Medicalized Substance Abuse Intervention
The first step to improving our addiction crisis starts with emphasizing Seattle as a haven for addiction recovery. We can do this by providing (currently unavailable) same-day access to necessary treatment in Seattle. Those with substance abuse issues should be offered supervised housing that is substance-free with on-site counseling.
- Same day, on-demand access to detox centers
- Mobile vans that will transport individuals in need directly to same-day detox treatment.
- Funding for physicians and medical staff to provide medication-assisted treatment for addicted individuals, through an expansion of existing methadone clinics.
4. Administrative Restructuring
Seattle must quicken the implementation of our programs in order to address our housing crisis. By switching authority of section 8 housing to county control, we can more efficiently distribute housing to those who need it. This will allow for permanent housing to be established, quickly followed by mobile and on-site services. As this is done, it is necessary that we enact the use of Medicaid to subsidize recovery housing. This has proven successful in New Orleans where similar action was taken.
- Section 8 housing being put under county control for specialized attention
- Medicaid used to subsidize recovery housing
5. Protecting local green spaces, natural water sources, and wildlife
We can protect the health of our environment by addressing litter and dumping in our green spaces and local water sources. There are 9 major green spaces in our district from Carkeek park to Thornton Creek. These need protection and maintenance. This is a perfect opportunity to create more city jobs for those who need them. Cleaning our streets is also an opportunity to start encouraging a litter-free city to make families, businesses, and neighbors feel safer and better about their community.
- Creating city jobs for maintaining health and appearance of public parks and water sources
- Encouraging city-wide support of maintaining a litter-free Seattle to reduce litter pile-up over time
6. KIDS: Increasing access to youth activities & education for low-income households
Our community can build deeper bonds through education and opening up access to recreational children’s activities in the district. Creating a “Leisure Card” program for Seattle would give low-income families money per year to pay for children’s chosen recreational activities. This serves the purpose of instilling belonging into our youth, so they are less likely to steer towards substance abuse as they grow up. Paired with creating a real-time, online concrete needs list for schools, we can better support our teachers. This ensures local needs are filled and donations go directly to classrooms. Lastly, substance abuse education in all public schools, starting in grade 5, will serve as a prevention tactic for Seattle’s youth.
- Creating a Leisure Card system to provide Low-Income families access to youth activities of their choosing
- Expanding local recreational programs and community center activities
- Begin Substance abuse education in local schools at grade 5.