Seattle is Dying, by KOMO News

August 28, 2019

Wide awake at 3am, and our local radio show had discussed this hour long (but worth watching, linked at bottom) special yesterday, so I watched. I've never been to Seattle, and it isn't on my bucket list. But I did spend a lot of time in San Francisco when DD1 was in college, then working. I'm glad she is no longer living in SF as they are having the same problems. Drugs are the problem, which can lead to homelessness, stealing and breaking many other laws. Police departments are told not to enforce the laws. The statistics are mind boggling in Seattle. Out of every 100 police reports, only 8 end in a conviction. The Top 100 that have been arrested average 36 times each. They interviewed a man that has been arrested 64 times in only a few years. He brags that he started stealing last week to support his drug habit. A grocery store owner has called 911....wait for it... 599 times in the last 18 months. 599 times! Let that sink in! And before you say I am heartless or that many of them are mentally unstable, I am not heartless. I feel for those that are mentally unstable -- my MIL was mentally ill. I feel for those that are addicts - I've had relatives die young from alcohol or drug abuse. A homeless lady interviewed said 100% of the people she has met while living on the street are abusing something. 100% They are living in tents, surrounded by feces, urine, used needles and garbage. They are taking over sidewalks, underpasses, parks and more. Even cemeteries. And nothing is being done. There are excerpts from anonymous surveys taken by current police officers. Their hands might as well be tied. Someone can be stopped and have 3mg (meth, I believe they were talking about) and not be arrested. 3mg = 30 hits. 30!

There was a bright side to the video when they showed a program in Rhode Island that works. I was not surprised to see it was five ladies they interviewed that were head of the Department of Corrections, Codac and other companies/programs that is getting a 95% success rate after release. 95%.

My point in sharing is frustration. I love my country. But this is happening in more and more cities. I am disappointed politicians don't seem to care and don't appear to be finding answers. Not trying to help. Why? Why do they want their cities to become a hell hole, because that's what they are becoming. No tourists equal loss in revenue.

I really do not want this to become a heated political thread. What I would like is hear from anyone that lives in or near cities such as Seattle, San Fran, LA, NOLA, Austin, etc that have watched the video. Hear from anyone that has been to these or any other cities with these escalating problems. Hear from people that are seeing tent cities pop up in their areas. If you're still reading, thanks for listening to my rant.

Link to Seattle is Dying

Comments (32)

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I just happened on this post by accident today as I was looking for an older post. I did not see it yesterday.

    My take on this problem will not be very popular. While I have always abhorred the so-called War on Drugs, this new tack is not working as far as I can tell. I think on top of homelessness, there is a frightening level of drug fueled violent crime.

    The NYT's Nicholas Kristoff wrote a wonderful, laudatory piece about Seattle combating this scourge through enlightened measures, treatment over incarceration. It sounded perfect, until I read many comments from people in Seattle who did not recognize their city in Kristoff's reporting.

    Legalizing drug use, normalizing it even, seems like a bad idea.

    PS Apologies for not actually answering the question about cities specifically.

  • Olychick

    It's also a huge problem in my town, not far from Seattle. I don't know what the answer is, but letting people who are impaired by drugs, alcohol addiction and/or mental illness make their own impaired choices is a failure of our society in my opinion. I always use the example of Alzheimer sufferers. We have laws, systems and facilities where we are FINE (as a society) keeping people in secure places, because we recognize they are too IMPAIRED to care for themselves. I believe we need to adopt the same attitude about other impairments and step in, step up, make changes.

    I don't think jail is the answer, but I'm willing to spend my tax $ to provide housing & treatment, both for addictions and mental illness, but people should not be allowed to decide that they are going to live on the streets and continue to use or refuse mental health treatment.You're making bad choices that are not good for you and affect the rest of us, so we're going to change that.

    I saw one news story last week from Seattle, where they closed a tent city and a number of the people moved their tents to a small children's neighborhood park. All of the people had been offered shelter. The man the reported talked to was asked why he refused shelter. His reply, "It's not worth my time." I think that pretty much sums it up for many, many people who are living in tents and it is an attitude that we need to combat. I feel like the rest of us should get to say, "It's not worth my time or my tax dollars to continue to allow you to live like this, at the expense of both yourself and the rest of us."

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  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I wonder if drug use can lead to mental health problems, aside from addiction?

  • Olychick

    I've heard that many people using drugs are self medicating for their mental health problems, so it's probably both.

  • Oakley

    Zalco, drug use can lead to mental problems but it's usually the other way around. Mental illness is a major factor leading to addiction.

    BTW, just because someone has a mental illness doesn't mean they're "mentally unstable." Most mental illnesses begin around 18 to 24 years old and those who have it seek drugs to feel better having no idea they have an illness. Which leads to drug addiction if left untreated.

    There's a high percentage of inmates who are mentally ill and they didn't know it until they ended up in prison.

    The only solution is state paid (insurance barely pays for such things) long term mental health hospitals to treat someone. It can't be done in a few days or a few weeks.

    Nothing will ever be done though because nobody cares about people who have a mental illness. Oh the horror! But I do, and my heart breaks for those people.

  • cawaps

    10 years ago I would have said that homelessness was primarily a mental illness and substance abuse problem. But the increase we've seen in the last 5 years seems to me to be mostly due to out-of-control housing prices. I'm in Oakland, CA, across the Bay from San Francisco, and the average rent here is $2854 (according to RentCafe). Other cities like Seattle have similarly high housing costs.

    Cracking down on homelessness doesn't address the underlying problem of housing costs. The police can roust out a homeless encampment, but there aren't enough shelter beds, and the people still can't afford housing, so they move their tents somewhere else. It's a game of Whack-a-Mole. The long-term solution should be constructing more housing, but on that front progressives tend to work against themselves by promoting short term palliative "solutions" like rent control that ultimately discourage builders from putting in new apartment buildings. I'd also like to see zoning restrictions and permitting hoops reduced to encourage a faster pace of construction.

  • allison0704

    fwiw, I thought I had done something wrong and lost my post when I hit "submit." It was nowhere to be found, and I had spent a long time writing, reading, editing... and had to get to an appointment. I guess the powers that be grabbed it in cyberspace and decided today to let it be.

    I will read your responses this evening. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and respond.

  • Fun2BHere

    I didn't have time yet to watch the editorial. I will, tonight. Cities like mine with a temperate climate are prime locations for the homeless. I don't have a solution, but what we are doing now isn't working, so I'm interested in all ideas.

  • dedtired

    I watched the first fifteen minutes and will go back to watch the rest. I returned from a trip to Seattle two weeks ago. We stayed in a lovely section called Queen Anne. No sign of homeless there and only a few in the tourist areas. The city was lovely. We visited some parks and enjoyed it. However we drove out to see Snoqualmie Falls and could see homeless camps all along the highways. Loads of them.

    Im used to this because we have our fair share in Philadelphia. In addition, there is a part of the city that is known on the east coast as a place to get opioids and there are encampments there, but it’s not an area where I’d go. Because our weather is not so inviting in winter we may have fewer. No matter, they are a sad sight.

    I used to work for a public library in the city and when the doors opened, the homeless poured in to use the bathrooms and spend the day. They washed themselves and their laundry in the public bathrooms. The city has shelters where they can go but they refuse. As I understand, they can be dangerous places and they feel safer on the streets.

    Even in my lovely suburban area, we recently had an incident where thee are a few homeless living along the riverbanks below the highway. One attacked another with a machete. The police went and cleared out the camps.

    i think it’s a crime to live on the street, fouling them for everyone else. I think that the law should be enforced and the homeless should be removed.However, there is no point in throwing them in jail only to be released again. There needs to be a system that helps them and an appropriate place for them to go. We used to have mental institutions, and I’m sure some were horrible places, but they were all emptied and those people ended up on the street with nowhere to go. I’m not sure how that should look. I don’t have the answer. It’s a tragic situation.

  • allison0704

    @zalco, no apology necessary, and thank you for the link. I found some hope in the article, but then I read some of the comments (there are over 1K) from people that live in Seattle. Yes, it is now a war on addiction, and I also don't see how decriminalizing drugs would help. I also worry about violent acts by those under the influence or those that need money/something to get their drug of choice. Yes, getting help for addicts is better than sending them to jail, but they have to want help.

    @cawaps, but don't you think the cities that allow these encampments end up loosing control? Parents can no longer take their children to parks, cemeteries are taken over, and stores that have been around for decades are forced to close.. This number of tent cities was not there X years ago, and when they are allowed to put tents/boxes/sleeping bags anywhere and everywhere the problem just multiplies. It becomes overwhelming.

    @fun2bhere, thanks for posting. We are in the South, so winters are not bad but summertime can be brutal. Unlike San Francisco, we have a good amount of rain and bad weather each year, but I see more homeless or people asking for money at red lights. It has moved into the areas away from downtown. I don't know how many of those are legit homeless, as a local TV station does stories every few years and follows many of them to their cars/homes. They make a good deal of money begging! SMH

    @dedtired, thanks for view concerning your recent trip to Settle. We were in ATL a few months ago, and encampments are there as well. They are near the interstate entrances and exits, which doesn't make one feel safe when you're suddenly thrown into it while waiting for the light to change. As you said, and the video I linked states, there are guns and knives in all encampments. I don't know what the answer is either, and addicts/mentally ill or not, they are human beings. I cannot imagine being in the mindset to live in these conditions, and it is heartbreaking to see.

  • l pinkmountain

    Most of the people I know (in my small rural Midwestern town) are having trouble finding anything affordable and even available as far as help with drug addiction. We just shut down our men's homeless shelter. We could do so much, much more in the way of social services in this country. They are tearing down an historic state mental hospital in my home town. Not sure if it really was all that horrible. It was a major employer in my small town and many dedicated and caring people worked there. Now just sits empty and decaying. A reminder of better times. Now homeless mentally ill people live along the river banks, folks are afraid to go to the parks. We need collective action to prevent our towns from becoming like many third world places. We have done better in the past and could do so again if we woke up.


    I didn’t watch the video, sorry. I’m still in a letting it go phase and didn’t wish to revisit this topic in video format. Just typing in because you asked if any had personal experiences in the cities mentioned. My daughter lived in Santa Cruz for four years. It was a horrible place with deranged homeless people everywhere. Every day was an exercise in personal safety skills. In one apt she lived in, in a residential neighborhood, the apt complex was overrun with drug use and homeless persons causing all manner of danger and lying about when not up to no good. Sleeping on the stairs, using the laundry room as a toilet (no toilet in there), some of them living in the laundry room, using the bushes to sleep, toilet and use drugs in. Then the screams, howls and fights all night long that one can not help but hear. Every-single-night. Tortured souls. She (and I, when I would visit) had to climb over drugged out bodies on the grounds, parking area, sidewalks, store entrances…this was truly everywhere. The vile smell of that town was other worldly. I got 35 flea bites on my lower legs in June of this year walking to Trader Joe’s from the car in their parking lot.

    Other cities in the U.S. put their problem homeless people on a bus with a one-way ticket to Santa Cruz. It’s a dirty little secret. I read about this practice in a newspaper article in 2017. In her most recent Santa Cruz apt, it was in the middle of the tourist district, rather urban setting, with locked complex doors so the homeless could not overrun the building. That was an improvement, but she still had to climb over unconscious people daily to enter/exit her complex. When I visited earlier this year I had to do the same climbing over people. Sometimes you can’t exit the building because of unconscious people lying in front of the metal exit door. It’s a horrible place to live, in my opinion. I know people have a fairy tale idea of Santa Cruz and how charming and quaint it is. I have not experienced that Santa Cruz. There are the tourist traps and such. Perhaps if one only goes those points of interest, you might enjoy yourself.

    Daughter has recently moved to SF. Is much happier and feels safer. Her immediate neighborhood is less densely populated with tortured souls. She sees it in certain districts in SF, but at least in her current neighborhood, it’s better. She pays $2000 a month rent for an apt in a house that has been divided into tiny apts. Her apt is 200 sq ft. 9 people live in tiny apts in the house, which is probably around 1400 sq ft total. Part of this homeless problem is high rents in CA, and elsewhere. How would a person who is struggling with drugs or mental illness be able to legally earn that much money? The streets it is. The relatively mild climate there makes it more attractive to live outside. Anyhow, daughter’s ultimate goal is to obtain a decent job in a mid-western state so she can actually afford rent, or a home of her own. She’s not fooling herself about being able to afford to live in the parts of CA where she can work in her field. She’s just starting out in life, so is building her resume at present, but is not a happy camper about her supposedly “good” rent on a 200 sq ft apt that is not really an apt, but part of the garage walled off to be a “living space”.

    My apologies that I haven’t really added anything to your discussion other to complain about my daughter’s experience with the crime, illicit drug use and homeless persons. I have not added any resolution or ideas on how to improve our cities and neighborhoods. I wish it was as easy as the rents are too high and thus the homeless problem. But, it’s more complicated than just rents. High rents do cause working people, some with families to be homeless more than others realize though. My daughter’s best friend from college was homeless while they were in school. The uni realizes a good number of their students are homeless and offers them free use of certain dorm showers and use of a kitchen in a multi-purpose room on certain nights of the week, which said friend utilized while living in her car and attending college. Said friend, now graduated, has a good job with a local Bay Area city government as an engineer which pays well, but not well enough to be able to pay high SF or surrounding area rents and still lives in her car. She showers at friend’s apts a few times a week. My other daughter is a teacher and many of her students are homeless as well. It’s practically become normalized, at least here in CA. I don’t know what will happen going forward with property values escalating as they have, salaries rather tempered, not enough social services to help those in need, and God forbid anyone has accrued medical bills…many are forced out, perhaps to the streets.

  • blfenton

    Same situation exists in Vancouver. Out of control housing prices although the government has put in a program which is bringing the prices down and adding some stability to the market. But we still have a homeless problem leading to tent cities, a drug problem, a mental illness problem with not nearly enough resources to solve any one of the problems never mind all of them.

  • chispa

    Lots of problems with the homeless in the greater Los Angeles area. Older son spent a few months living in Venice Beach and was mugged at the bus stop around 6 pm by someone looking for some quick drug money. He is 6 ft tall and tried to defend himself ... he was very lucky the guy didn't have a weapon. The attack only stopped because a blogger was on his bike and started filming the "fight", which he then realized was a mugging and verbally intervened to help my son.

    The only good thing was that it opened his eyes to the fact that you can't let down your guard, because you feel bad for someone's situation. I had warned him about the homeless (the ones with mental illness and drug problems) when he moved to the area.

    Any drive across parts of LA will have you seeing tents under overpasses with trash all over the place.

    I don't know what the solution is either, but whatever the local and state government here has been doing is not working at all.

  • arcy_gw

    Mpls is also having an upsurge in the homeless issue so it isn't just temperate cities. Most times drug use is self medicating. It exacerbates paranoia and depression. We were in Seattle this June. Can't say we noticed this issue any worse than most large cities; where there are resources as a rule. With the legalization of marijuana this will only get worse. Years ago society made a decision to shut the doors of health care facilities that forced mental health care on the mentally ill. I don't think it did us any favors. It is illogical that someone MENTALLY ILL can make decisions of this nature for themselves. IMHO

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    The shuttering of mental health facilities and single occupancy residences happened long ago. Why this surge these past few years? Is is cost? I know universities are seeing a lot more mental health problems too.

    I think of Canada as having a much more robust safety net, wrt to health care and social services, so blfenton's report is disconcerting.

  • allison0704

    @I pinkmountain, wouldn't you think the current state would wake up people? Yes, third world. In the video, a man says it's like living in concentration camps without the barbed wire.

    @sea sea, I understand not wanting to watch the video. I am not projecting this on to you, but for me - I realize I live in a bubble. I like my bubble. But if I am not aware or choose to ignore what is happening, then I am partly to blame if and/or when the areas outside my bubble become this way. I fear for my children and grandchildren. I know you worried about your daughter living in that area. How awful. Oh, gosh, no apologies are necessary! You have added to the conversation. SF rents are so high, and if you own a car rent on parking space as well. It is crazy. She later rented a cottage in Kentfield, and I felt much better about her being in SF. DS was in Chicago for 10 years for college, grad school and work. He lived downtown and a high rise, then bought a condo before 2008, so he lost some money. He moved his family back to AL so his wife could go to nursing school. Here he is able to save so much more each month. His wife lost her wallet to pickpocket on the bus.

    @chispa, I was hoping you would chime in. How scary for DS. I'm glad the blogger stopped filming and helped. That reminded me of when DD1 going to get her haircut in SF. When she got off the bus a girl through liquid on her. A cyclist saw it happen and stopped to see if she was okay, and that the liquid was just water. I have always told the girls to stay off of their cell phones (text and talking) when walking to their cars, etc. I don't think people realize how distracted they get when they use them. I have always said you don't have to be in fear all the time, or assume the worst is about to happen... just be aware of your surrounds and if something appears odd trust your gut. Be mindful where you park. I believe the problem(s) have gotten so big, that city governments have all but given up.

    @arcy_gw, before DH and I even knew each other, his mother was in a mental health facility that is now closed. Over the years I have heard many horror stories from local reporters about what used to go on there.

    @zalco, we live in an area with a major teaching hospital/university system, along with several other large hospitals. DD2 graduated two weeks ago, majoring in sociology and psychology, so I discussed the KOMO story with her a few days ago. She has volunteered and did required hours, one example was at an HIV clinic. She said it was scary and depressing. In the beginning, her plan was to work non-profit. But after having her eyes opened, she will start grad school next summer (was to start in January, but baby due end of December) and plans to do individual and marriage counseling. We have a men's shelter (mainly food and beds) and several women's and children's shelters or programs (food, beds and help to find jobs). A friends' son works for a Christian based business that employees homeless and those out of rehab programs, teaching them a trade so they can move on to better paying jobs. We have rehab facilities and programs that are always full. Being a medical town, we have more resources available, but it is never enough.

  • dedtired

    Blfenton,are you on Vancouver Island or in the city of Vancouver.? On my recent trip to the PNW, the most noticeable homeless problem was in the city of Victoria. They seemed to be everywhere and some were ranting away.

    I absolutely loved the the city of Vancouver. We stayed in Kits Beach and felt safe everywhere. Of course we were mostly in tourist areas and Stanley Park, so maybe we just didn’t go to the areas where the homeless hang out.

  • blfenton

    I'm in Vancouver and as long as you stay in the tourist spots you would be safe. The tent cities are on the downtown east side where you would have no reason to go as a tourist and you would have been steered away from that area. There have also been some tent cities in the suburbs.

    My impression as others have mentioned above is that many are self-medicating for whatever reason and many don't want help, don't want treatment and don't trust. The opioid crisis has. like probably in many communities, outstripped available resources and rehab centers.

    But the downtown east side has a great core of community workers who do their best to keep the homeless and those with mental illnesses and drug issues safe.

    Some of the homeless problem is a direct response to our very expensive housing which has led to very expensive rental market. But some of it isn't.

  • maire_cate

    We were in Seattle a few years ago for a meeting and stayed at a lovely hotel - the Fairmont Olympic which was within easy walking distance of many popular sites - the waterfront, Pike Place, the Art Museum etc. DH and I went for a little stroll around the block that the hotel is on - and were approached 5 times by individuals asking for handouts.

    DH stopped at the front desk and asked the concierge about it and was told that it was a terrible problem in the area and advised me to avoid them as much as possible and to be on the alert if I went out alone during the day.

    I've never encountered so many in any one place before - not in Philly, Chicago, NY, San Diego -not even in downtown Newark, NJ. Although my son and I were walking down the street near the Prudential Center one afternoon and a fellow stopped us and asked for $2.00 - then he remarked to my son that he needed to use a lint roller on his overcoat. My son gave him $2.00 and thanked him for his advice and the guy responded that he used to wear nice clothes too and wasn't always homeless.

    Years ago I worked for the same Library system as dedtired and the use of public facilities by the homeless was a difficult situation. We had addicts in the stacks, homeless sleeping at the computer stations, people bathing and laundering clothes in the rest rooms. Patrons would complain to us about the smell, the dirt, the muttering, the occasional ranting and shouting and we were not permitted to do anything unless it was dangerous.

    I can't imagine what it is like today. One of my friends is a librarian in one of the branches that has a park next door. Unfortunately it has become a hang-out for drug users and she has been given Narcan and instructed on how to administer it.

  • 3katz4me

    I’m in the Minneapolis area - my office was in a location where a lot of homeless people moved about. When I saw them I often thought about the mental illness and addiction of a couple family members who were one step away from being out there too. I also think about how we closed mental hospitals and left people out on their own. I’m sure mental hospitals of the past were horrible but couldn’t we come up with something better now?

    I’m sure it’s complicated - no one wants a homeless/mental health facility in their back yard, there aren’t enough qualified health care providers for all the mentally ill, addiction is difficult under the best circumstances. Meanwhile the city of Minneapolis is busily focused on adding more bike lanes and discouraging the use of automobiles. I think politicians sometimes pick things to focus on that are do-able and maybe popular whether they are a priority or not and they steer clear of the tough problems. The best things I see for the homeless are provided by nongovernmental groups. I’d rather donate more $ here where I know it’s going to directly to help people in need rather than paying more tax $ that I don’t think are used wisely or efficiently. Such a difficult and unfortunate situation.

  • Gooster

    I saw the TV documentary in question when it came up (via my FB feed, I was born in that area). There are two other companion documentaries as well. It's a severe problem all down the coast. From my experience, in SF (where we have a condo), things have gotten progressively worse in the last couple of years, with the increase in petty-crime being especially notable and the public sanitation issues that have been documented (see the SF poop map). But it does tend to get concentrated in certain areas. At my primary home, close to an urban core, businesses face daily problems with theft and threats, and neighbors closest to the trouble zones can count on a daily prowl of people on stolen bikes checking for unlocked car doors and porch items.

    I've done a lot of research on the issue, attended public forums, donated to charities, and joined an advocacy group. It's important to different between two population. In my view, it's not just a housing problem. There is a set of people who have lost their housing through broken relationships (often including violence), cost or other economic circumstances. More does need to be done for this group. However, they are not the majority of the homeless population that you see on the street. The more visible group, the ones on the streets or camping along waterways, are dominated by those in the throes of mental illness and substance use problems. The former group is afraid of the later, and those who can't find a shelter space tend to hide away from the worst and most aggressive of the transients. There is a shelter space problem, but even when offered, many refuse traditional shelters not due to perceived safety issues but because traditional shelters come with conditions like no alcohol, no drugs, lack of privacy, and rules.

    Every year, HUD mandates that each town conduct a survey of their homeless/transient populations. While flawed, each county has one available. I encourage you to seek yours out. For example, in my county 40% of the non-sheltered populations have said self-cited that health (primarily mental) and substance abuse have left them unable to work. Thus any housing solution will require full public support. (And there likely will be some portion that will still refuse help)

    In the Western states, there has been an Appellate court ruling (Boise is the plaintiff) that says cities are unable to enforce anti-camping restrictions unless they can demonstrate adequate shelter space. They can be cleared from a site with 72 hour notice, but cannot be cited. In California, the passage of Prop 47 reduced penalties and reclassified crimes for a wide range of crimes including open drug use and theft under $950. Thus the shoplifting, bike theft, package theft and other crimes are citations (and often not investigated or prosecuted) that are done to help fund addictions (you can see bike chop shops in some of the camps). Other laws have made it more difficult to compel someone to seek mental health or drug abuse treatment. The idea behind some of the drug-related law changes were to follow a successful model in other countries where it has helped keep the problem from growing. But these countries are also ones with strong social support networks and stronger laws to compel people to seek treatment.

  • allison0704

    Have not read entire article but seems like good info.

    *edited to add - Now that I've read the article, it is lacking in details and offers links to other articles that do the same.

  • arkansas girl

    In the world that we live in today, everything is about MONEY! Until there is a MONEY INCENTIVE, nothing is going to happen. You would think that after a while, with everyone(good and decent people) moving away from these drug infested areas, that money(or lack there of) would start to become an issue. There isn't any money in drug addicted homeless people. There isn't anywhere to put all these homeless people...doesn't make anyone any money to house these people and rehabilitate them. They are adults, so they cannot be made to go to a facility if they don't want to. Most of them do not want to go.

    Mental illness you say? Of course using drugs creates mental illness! Just the act to putting these drugs into your body, damages your body a little bit each time it's used. This also includes your brain! Only a tiny bit of the brain needs to be damaged to cause someone's brain to not work right=mental illness! That's all it takes!

  • allison0704

    @arkansas girl, when the revenue of tourist cities declines to the point of hurting, then they will do more. Until then, it's easier to do very little or run around in circles, which is what I think is currently happening. They visit the problem(s) but don't have the answers or are not willing to put money into the problem(s). I agree, many would not want to go to facilities if offered.

  • dedtired

    This thread has gotten me very interested in the topic. I love podcasts. One I follow all the time is Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell. Last night I listened to one where he introduced a new show called Solvable, where experts talk about how problems can be solved.

    Here is the explanation of the show : Revisionist History presents Solvable, a new show from Pushkin Industries and the Rockefeller Foundation that showcases the world’s most innovative thinkers and their ideas about how to solve the world’s most daunting problems. The interviews, conducted by journalists like Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg, dive into the complexity of issues like maternal mortality, food waste, and viral disinformation, while inspiring hope that such immense problems are, in fact, solvable.

    The first topic was Homelessness. Gladwell interviewed Roseanne Haggerty who is an expert in the field. One point she makes is that so many of the homeless people cannot pull themselves up simply because they have no home. She suggests that by providing a place to live with basic amenities, some of these people could get their lives together and others could get help they need. In other words, we are going about this backwards. First house the people and then address the problems that landed them on the street in the first place. It does make sense to me.

    Unfortunately good old old Houzz won’t let me paste the link, but if you search for “Solvable homelessness“ you will find it. If you’re at all interested I. The topic you will like listening to this.

  • arkansas girl

    dedtired, this certainly makes much sense, but the issue is funding. Where do they get the money to house these people? As I stated above, it's all about money these days. Everyone has their hands out looking for that Almighty Dollar! If there was some profit to be made, you can bet they would be creating housing for the homeless.

  • dedtired

    Good thought but I wonder what the cost is to the cities now, having to deal with the problem? Perhaps the churches and other orgs that feed the homeless would direct their time and money to shelter. I have an acquaintance whose husband had made a fortune building prisons. He is paid by the government.

    It it is a thorny issue and the solution is tough.

  • arkansas girl

    Our county acts like it's so broke it can hardly fill the pot holes in the road. Thank goodness we do not have this magnitude of homeless and drug problems. Well, they would freeze to death in the winter up here. We do have a drug problem but it isn't this excessive!

  • Mimou-GW

    Here is a different take. This is an opinion piece from the Seattle Times more at the link:


    Nicholas D. Kristof

    Syndicated columnist

    SEATTLE — On gritty streets where heroin, fentanyl and meth stride like Death Eaters, where for decades both drugs and the war on drugs have wrecked lives, the city of Seattle is pioneering a bold approach to narcotics that should be a model for America.

    Anyone caught here with a small amount of drugs — even heroin — isn’t typically prosecuted. Instead, that person is steered toward social services to get help.

    This model is becoming the consensus preference among public-health experts in the U.S. and abroad. Still, it shocks many Americans to see no criminal penalty for using drugs illegally, so it takes courage and vision to adopt this approach: a partial retreat in the war on drugs coupled with a stepped-up campaign against addiction.

    The war on drugs has been one of America’s most grievous mistakes, resulting in as many citizens with arrest records as with college diplomas. At last count, an American was arrested for drug possession every 25 seconds, yet the mass incarceration this leads to has not turned the tide on narcotics.

    The number of opioid users has surged, and more Americans now die each year from overdoses than perished in the Vietnam, Afghan and Iraq wars combined. And that doesn’t account for the way drug addiction has ripped apart families and stunted children’s futures. More than 2 million children in America live with a parent suffering from an illicit-drug dependency.

    So Seattle is undertaking what feels like the beginning of a historic course correction, with other cities discussing how to follow. This could be far more consequential than the legalization of pot: By some estimates, nearly half of Americans have a family member or close friend enmeshed in addiction, and if the experiment in Seattle succeeds, we’ll have a chance to rescue America from our own failed policies.

  • allison0704

    @mimou, I read that article yesterday. Today I read the comments. I suppose there is truth in both.

  • gsciencechick

    I've been to Seattle and San Francisco multiple times for vacations and for my professional conferences. Next year we are scheduled to go to San Francisco, and the last time was 2013, so it will be interesting and probably a little sad to see the change.

    We have challenges with homelessness and addiction here locally since our region is rapidly growing in population and dropping in affordability. We have many threads on our Nextdoor regarding the panhandlers near the convenience store/gas station and the McDonalds which are at the stoplight entrance/exit to the neighborhood. Some of them are not actually homeless but are dropped off there to panhandle. Our crime officer said they are all addicts. DH and I will not give them money directly but do support local nonprofits. I try to have compassion that they are someone's family member.

    There was one guy who used to use a walker and/or cane that he really didn't need, and another woman who would wear a fake pregnancy belly with a military shirt. Don't see these particular people anymore. I have to wonder if they passed away, are in jail, sometimes they move on to other cities where they can do better pandhandling, or being optimistic, got help.

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