Thursday, April 06, 2006

Seattle is building towards the sky - on the ground, the fight continues

Housing activists in Seattle are celebrating this week after winning a battle in an on-going tug-of-war with developers over the future of Seattle’s downtown. In a new plan spearheaded by City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, Real Change and SAGE, $18.94 a square foot built by developers will go toward affordable housing.

According to the Seattle Times, “That fee could help build 600 units over 20 years…A similar fee already charged to office towers could produce another 2,000 units, according to city planners.”

Affordable housing is only a small part of the larger plan. Seattle can expect to have 50-60 more high-rises built downtown in the next 20 years. Read more about it here.

  • Seattle Times article

  • And while this comes as a major victory to housing advocates, attention is being diverted to the outcomes of more than 200 shelter beds ran by SHARE/WHEEL, a lefty shelter provider. The organization also runs two tent cities.

    The city has threatened to cut the shelter beds because the group refuses to take part in Safe Harbors (HMIS) – a data management system meant to track people on the streets to curb duplication in services. In return, SHARE/WHEEL is threatening to launch three tent cities in Seattle’s public parks.

    Real Change has come out in solidarity with SHARE/WHEEL – considering 8,000 people are homeless in King County. You can read more about Real Chang’s take on the issue here:

  • Real Change take

  • Rumor has it SHARE/WHEEL has offered to compromise with the city, agreeing to take a monthly count of people who would be required to sign their initials, and date of birth on a sign-up sheet. The monthly tally sheet would then have clear directions for the peer ran program that people can opt out of signing due to privacy concerns - all of which is pissing the city off.

    A closed-door meeting will be mediated on Monday between the city, and SHARE/WHEEL by outside parties. One advocate says, while human service providers have different feelings on the issue, the general consensus is - the city should work with SHARE/WHEEL because they’ve acted in good faith. If not, “Everybody’s going to be fucked, because it’s going to hurt the implementation of the 10-year plan to end homelessness. Two-hundred more people would be sleeping on the streets.”

    The next week should reveal more.

    No comments:

    Blog Archive