The Seattle City Council — under the leadership of Council member Sally Bagshaw and with the assent of Mayor Ed Murray — passed a resolution slowing down the clean up of The Jungle. So, that’s exactly what has happened.
Jeff Lilley, president of the Union Gospel Mission, recently told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz that, after weeks, progress was made to move the homeless. Unfortunately, they are returning. Via MyNorthwest.com:
“It’s pretty obvious the first couple of days we saw some significant movement, people wanted help and services,” he said. “When there was a sense of wavering that movement slowed down. Over the Memorial Day Weekend, we saw about 25 people move back in. It was the type of thing where they look at it and say ‘Gosh, maybe the city doesn’t really mean this.’ At that point, it slowed way down.”
UGM has worked hard to connect the homeless with the services they need, helping them get back on the right path. They do this by making personal connections with those living on the streets, earning their trust. And they’ve seen results. Lilley estimates that about half of the estimated 336 people living in the area were moved out; 44 people got direct services, including addiction recovery, shelters and women’s services for domestic violence.
Instead of worrying about actually helping the homeless and/or aiding the Union Gospel Mission to help the homeless, city councilmembers are worried about changing the name of “The Jungle.” Bagshaw said she would not call the encampment “Jungle” anymore.
But, Lilley has the perfect response for the city council’s misplaced priorities. He told Rantz, “We somewhat agree with [Bagshaw] that words matter, however, it’s had a name for 20 years. And to be disappointed that it has a name, yet be OK that people can live there is counter-intuitive in our mind … the issue is the place, not the name. How can you want to change the name, but not where they are living? That’s the issue for us.”
Never seek reason in a liberal’s “logic”– it’s a fruitless endeavor.