Update on Tammy Town
Private security is now guarding the site of the former homeless encampment off Rainier Ave S. in Seattle, aptly named for Councilmember Tammy Morales (@CMTammyMorales) who was not there to help her constituents for many months. This is private property slated for development. But will remain looking like a WAR ZONE and Third World Country for the next few days. It will take time to remove the trash and remaining vehicles. There needs to be a plan to get in front of these encampments before spiraling out of control. But that remains elusive.
On Wednesday, outreach workers with the city, REACH, Salvation Army, and Urban League were on hand trying to track people and get them into the right situation. I checked in on campers I’ve been following for many months. Some took the shelter options offered, others ended up on waiting lists for housing, and a good portion just took their stuff and hauled it over to another encampment in the city. So many dynamics and personalities I’ve encountered.
Once again, the homeless spectrum is wide. There are some who are ready to get off the streets and take that next step into housing. Others prefer to live freely without any rules or responsibilities. Then you have those who are caught somewhere in the middle. Bottom line, affordable housing is part of the solution, but not the only one. If the root causes like drug addiction, mental illness, and broken relationships are not addressed, the cycle will continue. “Housing first” is not working because it’s no strings attached and there is little accountability regarding success rates. The Homeless Industrial Complex remains alive and well. Too big to fail and if they solve homelessness, people will lose jobs and six figure salaries. These failed policies are just depressing since I see the consequences first hand. Just to be clear, there are some non-profits and strategies that are working. Linda Taylor with Urban League gave me a glimpse into her ethos and why she believes in her group’s game plan. Btw, the homeless crisis in South Seattle is getting worse. Lots of folks ended up here from recent encampment sweeps near the downtown core and state highways.
Tammy Town Before Sweep
There were babies, toddlers, and a pregnant woman living here. At the very least, the city should be enforcing it’s ordinance requiring owners to maintain these types of private properties.
Back in June, I tried to get a straight answer about this encampment. But CM Morales (@CMTammyMorales) doesn’t like tough questions and is clearly NOT prioritizing this crisis in her D2 district. Who else is holding her accountable?
Sounding the Alarm
CM Morales knew about this for months, but would not answer questions from her constituents who simply wanted to know what she was doing about it.
During past few months, squatters took over the abandoned Burger King. Grease Monkey shut down due to crime in area. Then abandoned 7-11 got torched. Finally, Vietnamese American owner of the Baskin Robbins left the area for good.
It’s All Upside Down
Before being demolished earlier this year, former Burger King property on Rainier Ave S. was being used by homeless squatters. There was an encampment in the drive-thru. Let that sink in.