Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Homeless Drunks In Seattle



We have talked about CityLink being built next to schools and homes, so I am wondering what people think of this approach...

1811 Eastlake

This inital link has numerous links on the concept and idea, as well as reaction to the concept and idea of it all. I will give a few highlights.

Best Social Experiment

It was predictable that someone would go off his collective nut when the 1811 Eastlake project opened last December. The project provides permanent housing to chronic street drunks and allows them to keep drinking. And that sort of thinking sounds insane to uptight media types like KOMO-TV's Ken Schram, who denounced the place as enabling drunks. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Robert Jamieson has been nitpicking 1811 as well, since well before it opened, in fact, and the paper continues to refer to it as a "wet house." But here's the deal: Chronic street drunks cost taxpayers about $50,000 a year as they move through the current streets-jail-emergency- room-repeat program. The new approach, spearheaded by the Downtown Emergency Service Center, gives these guys a roof over their heads, lets them hooch it up, and saves the taxpayers money because the former street denizens will no longer be cycling through jail and ERs. Estimated savings: about $35,000 per person. Sounds counterintuitive, sure, but so far the reports are that the drunks are drinking less.—Philip Dawdy www.desc.org/1811.html


Check out the NPR report and listen in here.

From the New York Times

Also of interest by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker:

MILLION-DOLLAR MURRAY
Why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage.
by MALCOLM GLADWELL

Click the links and check it out. Add more in the comments if you find some good ones.

Many people that post here know about the proposed CityLink homeless mall. Seatlle has quite a different approach and I thought it was interesting. They barricaded the facility behind highways and overpasses and put it in a commerical/industrial zone. Then they invited all the worst drunks in town and told them they could keep drinking to their hearts content.

They claim to be saving money hand over fist. And people don't have to step over passed out bums on the street. The worst drunks in town are no longer lurking, pissing, and crapping in alleys, streets and parks of neighborhoods. Just about everyone they asked took them up on the offer. Listen to the NPR interview and the guy talk about his 9 year old daughter. Salient points. Nobody wants to see it, and if these people have dedicated their lives to the cause maybe we should give them that freedom.

To continue to jail, hospitalize, and detoxify a group of dedicated people such as this may be throwing good money after bad. Read the Gladwell article. So much of the social service budget is sapped up by a small percentage. If we could isloate these people and let them be free on their own terms, (while not imposing on others), a huge chunk of the social service budget could go to those where it could make a differnce.

This is very controversial, and I understand that. I think it is interesting and deserves a look and a comment. Where the hell do you stand on this?

12 Comments:

Anonymous Carstairs said...

Mr. Stretcher, thanks for the great story & research. I had no idea.

Sounds like a real winner for us taxpayers & it would, hopefully, get these social services pimps & whores off our backs. The City budget wouldn't bleed red ink every December. The Commishs could pare back the Mental Health Levy even further. (Then those Mental Health Board people wouldn't be in a position to those those opulent parties they were so infamous for several years back.)

Section off a portion of real estate where we don't have to look at them - put up a drunk house, weed house, crack house, house of ill repute & a target range area for the gunslingers & keep 'em there. They can engage in what gets them to where they want to be 24/7.

This sounds like a money saving idea to me. I'm not kidding. It makes sense.

For a social service program to really be effective, the person walking or stumbling in the door has to have their head wrapped around the idea that they want help & are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in overcoming their problems. As it stands now, these money sucking operations are guaranteeing results, despite the fact the person hasn't faced up to the idea of change. Social services isn't like a garage mechanic who fixes your car, although they portray themselves in that light. Besides, we've got a glut of social services in this city. Everyone's collecting a chunky paycheck & the whackos & the criminals are still out there.

Yeah, this is a great idea!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about putting this facility on a certain block in Mt Airy?
DumbDale (D2) and the Dopey Drama Dwarf (3D)could be the head inmates wots in charge.
D2 could get his Elite pals to guard the joint, and Wm.Sr. could join his ol;d rummies when he falls off the wagon.
Oh what fun!

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Nathan said...

My question w/ Citylinks is why does this always have to always happen to black neighborhoods? The drop in center is going to have to move. We can't put those talented white students next to a homeless shelter, that is obvious. But you can put a homeless mall next to 3 black schools.

That is Seattle's problem. They don't have any black neighborhoods to put this place in. Seattle has less than 10% black population. They can't really put it in a black neighborhood, and they sure as hell can't put it in a white neighborhood.

I wish that white and black people could work together to protect all of our neighborhoods. No neighborhood deserves a homeless mall next to their schools.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, it does sound crazy as hell, but it looks like it's working so far, particulary fiscally. And unlike CityLink, it's not in the middle of 3 schools and a bunch of residences. I think I'll bookmark some of the links and see how it goes.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Drop Inn Center needs to move out of OTR, and most certainly away from Music Hall and pending new SCPA. It contributes far too much to the crime problems in OTR, and is the source of most of the pandhandling problem.

City Link may have been a start, but failed with the Nimby effect."

---Brian Griffin

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the queen city barrel site or the old spinney field as the site for this place.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... said...

Nathan, I have heard the same point about the SCPA. White liberals like Brian Griffin don't want the dregs of society next to their symphony, their $500,000 penthouse lofts, or next to their gifted children. But when they put them next to your children it is because they are compassionate and 'care for the poor'. What a load of crap. It is a disaster for OTR and it will be a disaster for the West End. Seattle at least has the right idea in where to place such facilities.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Nate's dentist said...

4:22, that site would be a pretty good fit. It is far removed from just about everything. Queensgate has some remote places where it you are boxed in by US 50, the Mill Creek, and the Ohio River. One way in and one way out. It is a good site for both a new jail and a new drunkhouse Seattle style.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They could put crackheads in there too and let them smoke their lives away. Better than having them on the streets.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Mina said...

Anon 5:21, you are right on. It would be better than the crackhouses that are in the middle of neighborhoods now. And looking on the Seattle website, it would be the nicest crackhouse ever.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our view of ourselves needs to be broader. Just white and black, black and white cannot and does not cut it.

Being a Cincinnatian may be too pie in the sky, but a Cincinnatuan from your street is a start.

Saw our favorite Weiland cronie (outside of Dale)leaving the Purple bridge headed toward Boathouse today....Ms Norris.
Come to think of it, saw her a bit ago at a quick eatery with Timbo. Think it was a Wendy's.

Awfully quiet before the different judges rule on the CL zoning and Howdie. Like a lull before a real bad storm for the Linkers and their lunkers. Be patient TS justice will prevail.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seattle gets it. You can't put a facility like this in any neighborhood. There needs to be a separation.

9:23 PM  

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