homeless | KUOW News and Information


Red Square, University of Washington campus
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY NC ND)/http://bit.ly/1QnEFc7

A homeless camp could be coming to University of Washington for 90 days during the winter of 2017. School officials will consider letting the group called SHARE set up a tent city on campus.

William Kowang lives in the area under I-5 known as "the Jungle."
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Washington State Department of Transportation has $1 million to spend on the Jungle, a homeless encampment in South Seattle where roughly 400 people live. The state Legislature approved the earmark late last week.

About 100 mattresses in the foreground as friends of SHARE prepare to camp outside the King County Administration Building.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Homeless people camped outside the King County Administration Building Thursday night, trying to draw attention to the closure of 15 shelters. 

The group that runs the shelters has money problems. They say the problem grew when King County shut off their funding last year.

Social workers Bradly Smith and Jackie St. Louis check in on Tonja Warner, who is homeless. Smith and St. Louis walk with cops on their beat and connect people they encounter with services.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s early in the morning, and Capitol Hill’s homeless men and women are just waking up. 

Tanja Warner is curled up in her sleeping bag, sheltered under the roof overhang behind a business. It’s illegal to sleep here, a form of trespassing.

Bella Barger and Erik Nelson take light rail to get to their methadone treatment.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Barger and Nelson live in a tent city in the University District. They used to use a lot of drugs. But that changed when they found out Barger was pregnant.

“We made steps to change really fast,” Nelson said. “We’ve come a long way in the last three months.”

Every day, the couple makes their way to a methadone clinic on Capitol Hill. They used to take the bus. Now that the light rail station is open, they take the train. Their trips are paid for with a special monthly transit pass called Hopelink.

Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

Bill Radke talks with Eric Stoll, co-president of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, about why he thinks there's a link between an increase in homelessness and crime in Ballard. Radke also talks with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien, who represents the Ballard neighborhood.

'Week in Review' panel Pat Murakami, Gyasi Ross, Erica C. Barnett and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Are Donald Trump's manners an issue or a distraction? Should we house the homeless first? Who should see police body camera footage? Plus, are your exclamation marks a sign that you can’t write? 

Bill Radke declaims the news with Gyasi Ross, Erica C. Barnett and Pat Murakami.

Police and city staff arrived in the morning of Friday, March 11, 2016 to force out the remaining 16 residents atat the former Nickelsville camp on South Dearborn Street.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle police cleared out a homeless camp known as Nickelsville Friday. It’s been temporarily located on South Dearborn Street, near the freeway, since 2014.

Ronald Hawthorne was one of the first to see police arrive and alerted other campers.

“I told them look, the police are all here. There’s a lot of them and they say we only got 30 minutes to get out,” Hawthorne said.

The Jungle, the morning after five people were shot at the homeless encampment. Officially the East Duwamish Greenbelt, everyone calls it The Jungle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Washington state lawmakers have passed the supplemental transportation budget. It is now headed to Governor Inslee's desk for approval.

How to spend a chunk of that money is a contentious topic in Seattle: $1 million is set aside for safety improvements at the Jungle homeless encampment. That money could be used to build a fence around the camp under Interstate 5.

Five-year-old Tiui gets a snack from the makeshift pantry in Othello Village, the newest honeless encampment in southeast Seattle
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It was moving day Tuesday at Othello Village tent city in southeast Seattle. But there were no moving boxes or vans in sight. The new residents arrived with their few belongings in bins.

Seleima Silikula, 34, and her son Tiui, 5, were among them. They moved into one of eight tiny houses on the lot. 

Bill Hobson, former executive director of the Downtown Emergency Services Center in Seattle, is interviewed Thursday, April 5, 2007.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Bill Radke talks with Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess about the impact of Bill Hobson on Seattle. Hobson was the former executive director of Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center. He died Friday at the age of 76.

Also: Listen to an archived interview between Hobson and KUOW's Marcie Sillman, originally aired last summer, at the time of Hobson's retirement from the DESC.

Tiny houses being erected at Othello Village in South Seattle.
Courtesy of Low Income Housing Institute

A new homeless encampment in South Seattle is set to open Tuesday, March 8, near the Othello light rail station. It will have room for up to a hundred people, on-site counseling and a children's play area.

It’s called Othello Village and it’s in Seattle Council District 2 – Bruce Harrell’s district.

Maya Swinehart weighs recovered food from the SPU campus kitchen.
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Food waste — we all do it. We put that bag of spinach in the back of the fridge and forget about it. We make a casserole big enough to feed an army and never eat the leftovers.

Now multiply that waste by thousands. That's what was happening at Seattle Pacific University. Nearly 100,000 pounds of food went uneaten every year. 

Maya Swinehart decided to do something about it.

Elvis Summers is not part of any nonprofit or government agency. He's just a 38-year-old guy with a Mohawk and tattooed arms who started a GoFundMe campaign last spring so he could build tiny houses for homeless people to live in. He got the idea after befriending a homeless woman in his neighborhood.

"It just got to me, you know, I'm just like, you know, everybody in this neighborhood knows you, they like you," he says. "Why does nobody give a crap that you're sleeping in the dirt? Literally."

Kim and Brad Lancaster and their dog, Sofie.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Brad Lancaster is an attorney. His wife Kim is a paralegal. They live in a small 770-square-foot house with their dog Sofie in Shoreline, Washington. 

When KUOW visited recently, 16 homeless people had also set up their tents in the backyard. That makes 18 people sharing one bathroom, one small kitchen and one washer/dryer.

A Boston nonprofit plans to soon test a new way of addressing the city's heroin epidemic. The idea is simple. Along a stretch of road that has come to be called Boston's "Methadone Mile," the program will open a room in March with a nurse, some soft chairs and basic life-saving equipment — a place where heroin users can ride out their high, under medical supervision.

'Week in Review' panel Joni Balter, Michael Maddux, Randy Pepple and Deborah Wang.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

What should Seattle do about the homeless encampment known as the Jungle? How are your friends reacting to the success of Donald Trump? Is Washington State Bernie Country or Hillary Country? And finally, what makes this city great?

KUOW's Deborah Wang leads a discussion on all these questions with Seattle Channel's Joni Balter, Republican strategist Randy Pepple and Democratic activist Michael Maddux. 

A homeless camp beneath an Interstate 5 off-ramp in Seattle's SODO district.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about how he'd like to deal with the homelessness problem in the Jungle -- a notorious encampment along a green belt near I-5 -- and throughout the city. 

The Jungle, the morning after five people were shot at the homeless encampment. Officially the East Duwamish Greenbelt, everyone calls it The Jungle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

A new report from city officials looks at conditions in the Jungle - a large area south of downtown Seattle that is home to an unauthorized homeless encampment. The basic message is that this place is not fit for humans. So what should we do about The Jungle? 

Bill Radke speaks with Pat Murakami and Tsunika Blessing to get two different opinions. Murakami is with the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council and Blessing is with the street newspaper Real Change. 

Washington lawmakers plan to tap the state’s rainy day fund to pay for last summer’s devastating wildfires. But legislative Democrats said several other crises also deserve immediate funding.

Wanda Williams, a former nurse who has been homeless for three years, and her roommate Tim Pugsley hold up a permit that allows them to stay in Seattle's RV Safe Lot in Ballard.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Wanda Williams was the first to arrive at the safe lot on Friday. Her recreational vehicle, or RV, was right behind her, being towed into a lot in Ballard.

“I’m so excited,” she yelled out.

Some churches have become inclusive of gays and lesbians, but for transgender people, church can still feel extremely unwelcoming. A congregation in Phoenix is working to change that by focusing on the everyday needs of its members — many of whom are homeless trans youth.

It starts with a free dinner every Sunday night with donated homemade and store-bought dishes.

'Week in Review' panel Jess Spear, Erica C. Barnett, Roger Valdez and KUOW's Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

How do you help someone in a way that’s actually helpful: Zero tolerance? Public housing? Tiny housing? A new smart phone app? Also, millennial voters: idealistic, deluded or both? Bill Radke debates the week’s news with Erica C. Barnett from The C Is For Crank, Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle and Jess Spear with the Socialist Alternative Party.  

The Jungle: a green beltway east of Interstate 5 where dozens of homeless people live.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Bill Radke talks with Sharon Lee, executive director of Low Income Housing Institute, about what Seattle's third city-sanctioned tent encampment will look like.

A latrine in the homeless encampment known as the Jungle.
Courtesy of City of Seattle

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW law and politics reporter Amy Radil about what the city found after an examination of the homeless encampment known as the Jungle. The encampment is now infamous for a fatal drug related shooting last month. 

Jonathan Kumar, founder of the GiveSafe app, in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Entrepreneur Jonathan Kumar was walking through Chicago when he encountered a homeless person. Kumar didn’t stop but thought later that he would have been willing to give the man a couple of bucks if the man could accept credit cards.

That idea germinated for a few years in Kumar’s mind, leading to GiveSafe, an app he's developing in Seattle.

Dr. Seth Ammerman listens intently to his new, 21-year-old patient. Ernesto, who does not want his last name disclosed, is homeless. He is earning a high school degree and working part time, but at night, he and his brother share a tent that they set up on the streets of San Jose, Calif. The daily stress of being homeless is wearing Ernesto out, and making him light up too many cigarettes.

"I just want to cut down on my smoking," says Ernesto, in a tentative, soft voice. "I've been on the streets all the time, you know? I just want to make sure I'm OK."

The Low Income Housing Institute has filed for a Seattle permit to open a camp with tiny houses, much like the one above, and tents.
Courtesy of Alec Garner

South Seattle may have a new, 100-person homeless camp soon.

The Low Income Housing Institute, or LIHI, filed a permit with the city to open a camp with tiny houses and tents.

New Horizons and Seattle's Union Gospel Mission are opening a new shelter downtown for youth only.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

As Seattle struggles through a homelessness crisis, more services are coming online to help meet additional need. 

A new privately funded young adult emergency shelter will open downtown starting Sunday.

Lisa Sawyer and Steven Drogosz are living in a hotel in SeaTac
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Lisa Sawyer and Steven Drogosz have been together for about six years. They met volunteering at a food bank, they noticed each other and one thing led to another.