Seattle might try San Francisco’s ‘radical hospitality’ for homeless
June 11, 2016 - Picnic Time
This is a initial of dual stories examining what Seattle can learn from innovative approaches used by other cities to palliate a homelessness crisis.
SAN FRANCISCO — Denise and Michael were relaxing on a balmy Friday afternoon.
She sat on their bed in pajamas, folding laundry, while he roughhoused with their friend’s array bull. Soul standards were grating from a bang box.
There was something native about a scene, even yet a integrate was homeless. Denise and Michael were inside San Francisco’s Navigation Center, an initial preserve where guest come and go as they greatfully and where pets, partners and security are welcome.
The core in a fast gentrifying Mission District has helped take some-more than 300 people off a transport and out of encampments given it non-stop in Mar 2015, settling about 150 of them into permanent housing with understanding services.
It’s turn one of a many closely watched homeless-related projects in a country. Representatives from some-more than a dozen cities, including Seattle, have done pilgrimages to a Mission District given a core opened.
“We adore it since they don’t give we set rules,” pronounced Denise, a 42-year-old with a scratchy voice who dual weeks progressing was vital in a tent. “The some-more space they give us, a some-more I’m here. Because I’m like, ‘You guys are hella cool, for real.’ ”
She and Michael declined to share their final names, disturbed about a tarnish that comes with being homeless.
As San Francisco officials pierce to open some-more centers, Seattle leaders contend they wish to open one or more. The idea would be to offer people who evade normal shelters, that have despotic discipline and give guest a foot early any morning.
On Thursday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued an executive order environment in suit a origination of a Navigation Center in a Emerald City.
Murray and City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw both visited San Francisco’s Navigation Center recently. Wrestling over how to hoop a array of Seattle homeless encampments famous as The Jungle, both have touted San Francisco’s proceed as a intensity resolution to removing some people off a street.
“This could be how we start reinventing a preserve complement by holding people as they are,” Murray said. “Our complement isn’t relocating people out of homelessness formed on their sold needs. The complement we have now is mats on a floor.”
A rarely manifest crisis
The Seattle area is experiencing a homelessness crisis. January’s annual One Night Count, a severe estimate, tallied some-more than 4,500 people sleeping outward and in vehicles opposite a city and King County, a 19 percent boost over final year.
The predicament is rarely visible, with a homeless camped in tents in downtown, Ballard, Rainier Valley and many suburbs. In November, Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine any declared states of puncture over homelessness.
San Francisco has also been struggling. The 2015 count for a total city-county bureau tallied some-more than 3,500 people sleeping yet shelter, many of them in swarming encampments. That’s 100 some-more than dual years before.
Tackling a problem final year amid preparations for February’s Super Bowl 50 in a Bay Area was Bevan Dufty, a former district administrator portion as Mayor Ed Lee’s homelessness czar.
“The customary faith had turn that a people we saw on a transport didn’t wish help,” he said. “But we knew that wasn’t a case.”
Dufty came adult with a plan: Officials would modify an deserted propagandize on a Mission’s movement quarrel into a preserve with a means to take chronically homeless adults from a transport and whole outpost communities, afterwards navigate them into housing. New York City had some allied facilities, called Safe Haven sites.
Dufty’s domestic connectors helped allege a concept, as did $3 million from an unknown tech-industry donor. Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, a nonprofit with roots in a area’s Hispanic community, concluded to assistance run a Navigation Center, lending on-the-ground credit to a project.
There were concerns about opening a trickery with very few rules. Some in San Francisco’s supervision disturbed a indication wouldn’t work, Dufty recalls. But Lee wanted movement — a mayor had a site renovated and adult and using in usually a few months.
“What it took was guts,” pronounced Laura Guzman, homeless-services executive for Mission Neighborhood Resource Center.
“Bevan Dufty had a courage to say, ‘Let’s try this.’ ”
There’s a gated entryway to a Navigation Center where guest check in and out. Portable buildings ring a sand yard given with cruise tables and potted saplings.
Inside are sleeping cots that couples can pull together. There are showers, washers and dryers, and a disaster gymnasium with no set dish times. Shipping containers and lockers store a security of people accustomed to vital out of backpacks and selling carts.
There are pocket-size dog runs — one for little dogs and one for vast ones. San Francisco Animal Care and Control screens and prepares pets to stay in a center.
“We’ve mostly had dogs and cats,” Guzman said, laughing. “And birds. And a rat.”
The center’s on-site box managers assistance guest obtain gratification benefits, driver’s licenses, health advantages and housing. They keep lane of appointments and arrange transportation, pronounced Julie Leadbetter, who leads a core for a mayor’s office.
Weapons and assault are taboo and drug and ethanol use are criminialized during a core and immediately nearby. But there are no seriousness requirements.
In a initial 14 months, a core served 501 people. Eventually, 110 of those people were staid into single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels with subsidized rents and support services, and 40 were put into other permanent housing. Another 187 took advantage of a Homeward Bound program, that provides transport so people can leave San Francisco to stay with kin or friends elsewhere.
For people relocating into housing, a normal stay in a core has been 91 days.
The formula are considerable compared with a rate during that normal shelters transport people out of homelessness.
The whole Seattle and King County preserve complement includes 3,800 beds. Of a scarcely 18,000 people who spent during slightest one night in a complement final year, about 8 percent were available as carrying left into permanent housing.
Many people stay usually one night or two, afterwards disappear, says David Malone, a executive executive of Seattle’s Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC).
Building on progress
David Loughlin spent about 8 months during San Francisco’s Navigation Center. Previously, a wiry 58-year-old had been sleeping in tents, in a apparatus store where he worked part-time for cash, and in a behind of a truck.
Loughlin now lives in a Altamont, an SRO hotel. His possess paintings sweeping a walls of his room. His mother’s remains lay in an vessel on a shelf above his door.
About a series
This is a initial of dual stories examining what Seattle can learn from innovative approaches used by other cities to palliate a homelessness crisis. These stories were constructed in partnership with a Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), with transport losses saved by a extend to SJN from a Bill Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This has been a vast change for me,” he said. “I can play guitar and not worry about my things being stolen. we can take caring of business since we have a rising pad.”
Loughlin had been homeless for some-more than a decade yet had spent usually one night in a normal shelter. By contrast, a Navigation Center worked for him.
“It’s zero like a shelter,” he said. “They don’t check your pockets when we come in. They give we a box workman and they say, ‘Do we have food stamps? Do we need (health benefits)?’ They helped me get an ID.”
Loughlin is a print child for a center. But his knowledge also raises questions about priorities. He snared a mark after conference that overdo workers were scheming to brush a sold outpost and pierce a residents to a center.
“That was a prohibited tip,” pronounced Loughlin, who spent a night during a encampment. “The subsequent morning we listened all this commotion. There were trucks and a mayor and TV cameras … The mayor said, ‘Everyone here gets a bed.’ we hopped adult and said, ‘Right on.’ ”
The core owes some of a success to a standing as a pet project apart from San Francisco’s unchanging homeless-services system, that prioritizes people formed on length of homelessness. The mayor has given a center’s clients special entrance to housing.
“The waitlist (to get into a center) is super long, like 200 people,” pronounced Norma Ruiz, who works during Mission Neighborhood Resource Center. “They call it a kingship of a preserve system.”
The upshot: The core has played good politically, yet some people benefiting are reduction exposed than others left on their own.
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“We’re not elucidate a outpost problem since it’s too vast for a 75-bed preserve and we’re creation decisions that don’t align with a altogether policy,” Leadbetter said. “We pennyless by a bureaucracy, yet now we wish to put things in order.”
The Navigation Center will tighten after this year to make approach for a construction of 165 sorely indispensable affordable-housing units. Within spitting distance, new studio apartments are renting for roughly $4,000 a month.
Dufty has left Lee’s office, yet successors are operative to open a second core in a former low-income hotel in a Civic Center. Officials are deliberation a third core in a Dogpatch neighborhood, where warehouses are giving approach to galleries and condos — and where homeless people stay by a Bay.
While there’s disappointment about how officials are selecting whom to help, there’s also widespread agreement a core is effective.
The word on a street: People who go there get housing.
Ruiz said, infrequently when you’re homeless, “ … and we don’t see a approach out, we tend to remove hope. With this, we can during slightest design yourself removing somewhere.”
Shanna Orona, 43, was vital in May in a tent along Erie Alley, one of many Mission District stretches ornate with splendid graffiti murals.
The alley is reduction swarming than it was a year ago and Orona keeps her territory neat and tidy. She passes time repair and portrayal BMX bikes. But she pronounced she desperately wants housing and even has some income for rent.
“The Navigation Center, a lot of us are trying,” she said. “Getting in is a vast step.”
Making it work here
Seattle Mayor Murray acknowledges that one core won’t totally solve Seattle’s homelessness problem any some-more than a Mission District site has finished San Francisco’s crisis.
Just this week, dual people were charged in a grisly, three-day woe and slaying of a homeless man found in Golden Gate Park. And San Francisco officials have encountered some antithesis to a site due for a third core in Dogpatch, where residents are endangered about homeless people roaming circuitously blocks.
Besides, Seattle already has some identical programs in place.
Jason Johnson, Seattle Human Services Department emissary director, says one DESC preserve is open as drop-in site during a day. A Salvation Army preserve allows partners and pets.
Three city-sanctioned encampments opened by Murray in a past year also concede pets, partners and possessions. Guests can come and go. And distinct a Navigation Center, they accommodate children. As of this month, they’re sheltering 135 people.
These outpost use tents and little houses rather than buildings, a downside. But those are some-more private than rally bedrooms — and cheaper, records Sharon Lee, executive executive of a Low Income Housing Institute, that provides services during a sites.
“We have a higher indication and we’re cost-effective,” Lee said.
Setting adult a Navigation Center cost San Francisco $600,000; operational costs are $2.5 million per year, including meals.
By contrast, Seattle’s 3 sites cost a city about $80,000 to set up, and handling them costs reduction than $500,000 per year.
They’ve served 520 people and as of May 24 had supposing postulated box government to 139 of them, relocating 42 into housing, according to Lee and a city.
Seattle’s safe-parking lot and protected zones for people vital in vehicles have been reduction successful: Only one of 65 households has left a lot and zones for housing.
The cost of formulating something identical to a Navigation Center in Seattle worries DESC’s Malone, even yet he describes it as “a acquire twist” on shelter. “Would it be improved to use that income to emanate housing?” he said.
San Francisco has another item — dozens of early-20th century SRO hotels to pierce people into. Seattle has ripped down many of a SRO buildings.
Then there’s a Homeward Bound module — a many common exit from a Navigation Center. Seattle infrequently buses people away, yet a incomparable module would expected face opposition.
Still, Murray and Bagshaw devise to forge ahead. The mayor’s Thursday sequence calls for a city to open a Navigation Center in Seattle by a finish of a year. State lawmakers recently allocated $600,000 for a project.
Murray has begun articulate with donors about seed money, he said. And Seattle might be means to save income by converting existent shelters rather than building a Navigation Center from scratch.
“(At San Francisco’s Navigation Center) they use a tenure ‘radical hospitality.’ we adore that. That’s what we need to be doing,” Bagshaw said.
Murray and Bagshaw contend they’re meditative about people like Denise. Back in a Mission District folding purify sweaters and jeans, she seemed happy. She also seemed dismayed to be relaxing after so many months of stress, on drugs, on a street.
“I didn’t do a singular bucket of washing for 3 years, for real,” Denise said. “I have a core of sobriety now. I’m removing responsible.”