This impacts the 11 indoor shelters but also impacts TC3 and TC4 with the loss of bus tickets. Sometime this week funding for bus tickets will run out and campers will stop receiving bus tickets.
By Lauren C. Williams Seattle Times staff reporter
Via Seattle Times
Hundreds more homeless people in Seattle could be sleeping on the streets this week if a nonprofit housing organization closes 11 of its 15 shelters for lack of funds.
“As of Thursday or Friday night, we will be sleeping outside,” said Sheri Rowe, a shelter resident who serves on the board of directors of Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE). SHARE: www.sharewheel.org/aboutus
SHARE, which gets about $300,000 in installments from the city of Seattle each year to shelter the homeless, says it needs $50,000 more right away.
SHARE has been petitioning the city for an increase in the grant for the past year, said Sara Levin, the city’s deputy director of human services. She said SHARE declined an advance on the installment payments, which would have meant more money upfront but repayment or smaller installments later.
Dozens of SHARE residents, including Rowe, visited Mayor Mike McGinn’s office Monday afternoon in hopes of speaking with him about the group’s financial woes.
McGinn invited the group to speak with his senior staff, said spokesman Aaron Pickus. But McGinn couldn’t be there because of a prior engagement.
SHARE, a grass-roots organization of homeless and formerly homeless individuals, is accustomed to operating on a deficit, Rowe said, but lately, the situation has become dire.
On a typical night, SHARE houses about 500 homeless individuals in a decentralized network of 15 indoor shelters and two tent cities in Seattle, Rowe said.
Many of the homeless rely on bus transportation to reach SHARE’s shelters, she said. SHARE has an agreement with the city to purchase discounted transportation for shelter residents. That transportation money — about $12,000 a month — is what’s needed by Thursday to keep the shelters filled, Rowe said.
“The [mayor's] office is looking for the next step to help the homeless community,” said Pickus. But it won’t be easy in the context of the city’s own budget woes.
“There are no easy decisions when you’re looking at a $56 million deficit,” Pickus said, referring to projections for the 2011 city budget.
The mayor’s office maintains its commitment to public services, which Pickus said was evident in the 2010 budget, which saw minimal cuts for human services, as well as police and fire departments. All other departments had to make 3 percent cuts, he said.
The SHARE program faced a similar dilemma last fall, Rowe said. Eleven shelters closed for more than two weeks until about $6,000 in private donations bought the program two weeks of bus transportation.
Monday’s meeting did not bring any solutions.
“We have not been given an answer,” Rowe said after the meeting. “Until we have answers we will sleep outside.”
Lauren C. Williams: 206-464-3195 or email@example.com