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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 27, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Pink tent city and the homeless (two letters)

Let pink tents stay

The shelter system is over capacity citywide [“Seattle doesn’t deserve this pink tent city,” Times, Local News, Sept. 24]. On Tuesday, Operation Nightwatch could not find emergency shelter for 24 men and women. This summer we served more than 200 people, the most in 40 years. Other agencies are reporting similar trends. Given the current economy, things may get worse before they get better.

So why is there such resistance to homeless people getting organized and camping out on vacant and unused public land? They have not asked for money from the city.

Our 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness says that homeless people “are at immediate personal risk and have a basic right to safety. Interim survival mechanisms — services focused on keeping people alive … are necessary until such time that affordable permanent housing is available to all.”

Yes, they’re playing politics with the name. It’s unfortunate. But the pink tents would keep people alive this winter, with more comfort and dignity than is being provided by Interstate 5 and Kinnear Park.

I say, leave them alone.

— The Rev. Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch, Seattle

Practice what you preach, Mayor Nickels

Maybe “Seattle doesn’t deserve this pink tent city” [editorial, Sept. 24] but didn’t the city propose to end homelessness in 10 years?

Even though the city has dedicated considerable funds to address homelessness, the 10-year goal hasn’t been achieved.

Mayor Greg Nickels expresses bad faith when ordering homeless sweeps. They clean out the homeless from their encampments like garbage and destroy their belongings.

The mayor has recently proposed $9 million to help our troubled youth extricate themselves from gangs and violence. He has also eliminated the tax on musicians performing at venues in the city to enhance city night life.

Instead of throwing the “bums” out of their tents, maybe the mayor should secure the empty site at 7115 West Marginal Way S.W.

He should advocate for them to stay at “Nickelsville” until he has completed the 10-year plan to end homelessness.

— Patrick Burns, Seattle

Comments | More in homeless, tent city

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