This coming Monday, the Fremont Neighborhood Council hosts a dialogue on homelessness in Fremont, a civil conversation with a focus on solutions
AGENDA – Fremont Neighborhood Council Meeting Monday, October 22, 2018: 7-8:45 p.m.
7:00 Introductions and Announcements
7:05 Introduction to FNC Dialogue on Homelessness in Fremont The Fremont Neighborhood Council seeks to provide a forum for a civil dialogue about homelessness, displacement, and an increase in encampments in Seattle to help Fremont residents address these problems effectively. FNC hosted an initial conversation on the homeless issue at its August meeting. To continue the dialogue, we have invited a panel involved in various aspects of the issue to participate in a dialogue with Fremont residents, housed and homeless.
7:10 Panel Presentation on Homelessness in Fremont
Speakers will include:
Tawny Bates, Fremont Housed Representative Concerning Impacts
August Drake-Ericson, City of Seattle Navigation Team member
Tracy Cramer, Lead Clean City Inspector, SPU
Judy Gay, long-time Fremont Baptist Church Pastor (recently retired)
Sgt. Eric Zerr, Navigation Team for Police Dept.
Sgt. Mary Amberg, Seattle Police Crime Prevention Coordinator
Fremont Unhoused Representative (if possible)
Moderator: Jenny Brailey
- Seattle is experiencing a housing crisis. The cost to own or rent housing has increased rapidly in recent years. Inexpensive housing like SROs (single room occupancy hotels/apartments) that used to be common in many cities has become rare in Seattle. Many households and individuals cannot find affordable housing.
- Starting in the 1980s, the amount of public and private resources allocated to treatment of mentally ill people has declined. At the same time, income and wealth inequality have been getting worse for years. Finally, the U.S. is in the midst of an addiction epidemic involving both illegal (e.g., opioids, meth, heroin) and prescription drugs.
- Together these and other factors have resulted in a large increase in the number of homeless people living on the streets of Seattle, including many in Fremont and surrounding neighborhoods. While homeless people have been present for decades, the scale of the problem has become worse in the past few years. Homeless camps have appeared on all sides of Fremont and in our midst. Almost any patch of public green space—Bridge Way, Woodland Park, along North Lake Union and the Burke Gilman Trail–tents appear.
- In response, the City of Seattle has struggled to provide emergency shelter as well as longer term housing, but the services are too few and many of the homeless do not want to use them. The ‘host’ neighborhoods experience negative impacts from camps of people on public land without services, many occupied by people with drug and related problems and some with behavior issues including criminal activity (which often accompanies opioid addiction). The City has responded in part by clearing out homeless camps, but without any way to force people into treatment or housing (even if it was available), the camps simply reappear elsewhere and in the same locations repeatedly. And the homeless themselves are in a constant state of upheaval.
- Together these activities have created a very unpleasant situation for many people, both housed and homeless. Even among the housed, the dialogue gets irrational and angry very quickly. Solutions are difficult to find.
8:10 Questions for Panel and General Discussion Civil conversation with a focus on solutions
8:40 Old Business and Committee Items