Homeless men and women from SHARE (Seattle House and Resource Effort) camped outside of City Councilmember Tim Burgess’ Queen Anne home last night and the organization has just announced that protesters will return to his house again tonight. After camping outside of Mayor Nickels’ West Seattle home on Monday night and having the opportunity to speak face to face with Councilmember Burgess outside his home yesterday, the group said they were able to straighten out some misinformation and will return in the hopes that tonight’s repeat performance will bolster awareness even more.
In a press release sent out just after 10 a.m. this morning they wrote:
For the second night in a row, the homeless men and women of SHARE are sleeping outside of City Councilman Burgess’ house.
Last night’s sleepout protest was a far cry from Monday. First and foremost, there were no police cruisers posted outside of Mr. Burgess’ house. Apparently, the powers that be realized what a waste of taxpayers money it was to assign 6 police cars to watch people protesting peacefully. A few SHARE participants also had the opportunity to talk at length with Councilman Burgess. It seems that he was under the mistaken impression that the offer of a $50,000 advance on our regular funding was with no strings attached. He was not aware that we would have had to promise not to close down our shelters if/when that money ran out during the coldest months of the year. Mr. Burgess also told us that he would look into the matter. It seems that finally, the correct information is starting to come forward.
SHARE is a grass roots organization of poor people empowered by our system of self management. We provide more than 500 shelter beds every night in 15 indoor shelters and 2 tent cities. The City funds us only in the amount of $300,000. Meanwhile, the City spends $400,000 a year on its Roy Street shelter which only houses up to 50 people. You do the math…
The sad reality is that unsheltered people die outside. So far this year, the Women in Black stood for 29 homeless people who died outside or by violence.
Until enough affordable housing is available, interim survival mechanisms such as the SHARE shelters and Tent Cities—and also Nickelsville–are necessary.
The reality of our sleepout is that it is not political in nature. It is about survival of the poorest in our community.
But despite the organizations claim that their cause is not a political one, but rather a social issue, many disagree. One reader, SorryButNo, commented on last night’s story against the SHARE/WHEEL protests. They wrote,
They already receive $300,000 from the city, and are using this media event to extort more money from the city in a time of dire financial crises. Just say no, Seattle.
SHARE/WHEEL has long ago moved away from its mission to help the homeless, and has instead moved into political activism, at the expense of the very people it is supposed to help. They have people who have been living in tent cities for YEARS. They have become a con game, and a haven for scam artists.
Other groups are far more effective in assisting the homeless. Donate your time and sympathy to them.
According to SHARE, the group did receive $300,000 from the city for the 2009 year, money which they say ran out when the Metro bus fare went up, rendering them unable to provide around 16,000 bus tickets for their 500+ members. With protesters returning to Upper Queen Anne for the second night in a row tonight, we’d like to hear what you think. Comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org