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“We’re Just Moving Down the Street”, Encampment Clearing in SODO Never Ends

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Major Sweep in SODO…Again

Crews are out right now at 3rd Ave. S & Holgate St in SODO. Just in the past year, I have now covered ten sweeps in this area. RV owners openly say they will simply circle around the neighborhood and come right back in a few days or weeks. City and @Seattledot cannot keep up with enforcement. And I spoke to more than a dozen people here on Wednesday. No one is taking offer of shelters or services. Other say they don’t want apartments because they have to pay rent. They just want to be left alone!

This is the worst kept secret, but this is one of the most ideal locations for the homeless and those who want to live off the grid. Multiple food banks, methadone clinic, gateway to downtown, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Tons of non-profits come here to offer help. It’s one stop shopping. Why would anyone want to leave?

BTW, Tammy Morales(@CMTammyMorales) is once again 100% MIA. None of the homeless knew who she was when I asked if she came around to check in on them. #Seattle @GovInslee @kcexec @SeattleCouncil @KCCouncil @CMSaraNelson @CMTMosqueda @D5Juarez @KC_RHA @MayorofSeattle

Following Up

I always go back to the scene of a sweep. 3rd Ave & Holgate St. looks good right now after crews moved in on Thursday. But as you can see, some homeless have already set up tents and RV’s down the block or on parallel streets like Utah Ave S., near Starbucks (@Starbucks) corporate HQ. Virtually everyone refused shelter and services being offered.

Many living in RV’s do not consider themselves homeless and just want to be left alone. That’s because this area is considered ideal for easy access to dowtown and a bonanza of food banks and other free services. You can easily live off the grid in this city. But some business owners say @MayorofSeattle is doing the right thing. The constant sweeps are sending a message that illegal camping on public streets will no longer be tolerated. Remember, city says everyone is being offered shelter and services. There is also hope that a new sanctioned RV lot will open sometime this year. But will the campers go?

Abundance of Resources

There are multiple food banks in SODO like Northwest Harvest. It’s no questions asked easy access to food. At least in this neighborhood, hunger is not the issue. But this is also why so many homeless come back to 3rd Ave S. & Holgate St. There are tons of resources, non-profit and church groups come here to serve regularly, methadone clinic nearby, and this industrial space gives the men and women living on the streets some cover and privacy. #Seattle

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.