The Honorable Jenny Durkan
Mayor, City of Seattle
Dear Mayor Durkan,
When you were running for mayor in 2017, you promised to make things better for homeless people.
Since then, you have presented several proposals — and withdrawn one — to help do that. What I haven’t seen so far is an actual plan.
You see, what I call a plan would see homeless people for what they are: people. People with experiences. People with deep knowledge of what it’s like to be homeless. I appreciate your use of data, but people are not data points. People need to be consulted on anything that is going to affect them. That goes for homeless people, too.
The next time you appoint a committee, or a board, or a task force—whatever you call it—please have on it at least one person who has been homeless. So far, we’ve included business people, neighborhood property owners, local activists. People who have been homeless know what the choices for homeless people are, and those of us who have worked our way out of homelessness know what it takes to get there.
I have almost worked my way out of homelessness. I’m a veteran who has been homeless for 18 years, and one issue for me is how unstable the lifeline is for people with disabilities. Right now, I’ve completed all the work for a HUD Section 8 voucher, and I’m waiting for it to come through. Maybe your data will give you a hint of the fact that, even with a voucher, finding housing won’t be easy for me. I can give you more than a hint, because I’m a living, breathing, thinking person. A homeless person.
I know most of us don’t pay property taxes, but we do pay sales taxes. Some of us vote. All of us are human beings, and we would like to be part of a plan.
I look forward to hearing from you. You can write to me at Real Change.
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