Last night some 50 homeless men and women, members of the homeless-advocacy group SHARE (Seattle House and Resource Effort) camped outside Mayor Greg Nickels’ West Seattle home in peaceful protest of the city’s denial of funding for bus passes used to get from shelter to shelter. (See the West Seattle Blog coverage here). Tonight they’ll be bunking down on top of the hill, in front of Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess‘ home starting at 8 p.m.
The video above is from the West Seattle Blog’s coverage of last night’s protest outside Mayor Nickels’ home.
SHARE, a grassroots organization, helps 400-500 homeless people organize together and find housing each night at one of their 14 self-managed shelters and two Tent Cities. In a press release sent out prior to last night’s protest, the organization explained that last year they submitted a request for additional funding from the City for bus tickets for their members so that they could travel between shelters, service organizations and tent cities safely. On September 22, their bus fare money ran out. Here is what they wrote:
A year ago, SHARE, a grassroots sheltering and organizing effort of homeless people, submitted a green sheet asking for additional funding from the City. Our green sheet mysteriously disappeared in the Mayor’s office and never made it in front of the City Council to be voted upon!
The politicians failed to heed SHARE’s pleas for an additional $50,000 in funding to keep 500 men and women going to and from their shelters with bus tickets. This is only $100 per person and shows the overt contempt the City Officials have for homeless people.
Our elected officials are inept in more ways than one especially when it comes to practicing the three tenets of good government (Justice, Compassion, Common Sense). They are more likely to respond to corporate pleas for bailouts than to the needs of the poor.
$50,000 is a ridiculously low amount of money for a City which wastes millions of dollars on a useless computer tracking survey and is wasting 1.6 Million bailing out an underused and useless light rail.
Apparently our leaders are more interested in monitoring homeless people’s activities than in keeping them together and safe at low cost.
Our shelters cost less than 3 dollars a night compared to the City “sweeps” shelter which costs over 21 dollars a night
Having been ignored, this leaves us with no other choice but to close down our shelters due to lack of transportation and sleep outside of the Mayor’s and the City Council members’ houses.
All we can say is SHAME!!!
According to SHARE, all neighborhood bus shelters except one got to their safe places without a bus ticket, due to the kindness of city bus drivers. (The organization is keeping a tally of member riders who are given transport to their shelters without bus tickets so that they may reimburse METRO as soon as funds are available). Those who cannot get to their shelters will spend the night outside Councilmember Burgess’ home.
The protests were planned at a SHARE meeting on Monday morning (see Seattle Post Globe coverage here), in an attempt to take direct action and alleviate homelessness in Seattle.
Queen Anne View will be covering the protest tonight, so check back for updates.