Compass Center plans 7-story building

At the Ballard District Council meeting Wednesday night, the Compass Center previewed their plans to build a facility for the homeless at the now-empty lot at 1753 NW 56th St. The 7-story building will feature 80 units of permanent housing for both homeless men and women. (Earlier plans were for a women-only facility.) “We have no worries about filling 80 units of housing,” said M.J. Kiser with the Compass Center. “We’re just anxious to get it up and going.” The facility will be staffed around the clock, and Kiser said they’ll offer support services including treatment for mental health and substance abuse. “I know we’ll have some of the folks from Ballard, but unfortunately we have 80 units, and there are more than 80 homeless folks in Ballard,” she said.

As for when the facility will open, the Compass Center said they expect to finish construction in February of 2012. In the meantime, they plan to level the ground and plant grass in the empty lot. One neighbor at the council meeting, Michael Wolf, asked if he could suggest ideas for the empty lot in the meantime. Some of the ideas, he told us after the meeting, include a community garden, public art or just a place for people to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. Compass Center organizers said they invite ideas from the neighborhood, so stay tuned.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

141 thoughts to “Compass Center plans 7-story building”

  1. Welcome to the neighborhood.

    When does construction start? It may be a big waste of money to really put anything in there but grass. Just plant it and we'll sit.

  2. Good for the Compass Center for providing housing, treatment and resources to those of us who are down on our luck. Those folks who will be using this home are those who are engaged in their own well being. Please try to be more supportive and less judgmental of the homeless. There are many reasons why people become homeless and they deserve a better life, just as others do. It does not help to generalize all homeless people – especially when they are seeking resources at a place like Compass Center. We're lucky to have an organization like this in our neighborhood that is trying to help improve the lives of homeless people.

  3. It seems a fair amount of the homeless around here are of able body and qualified to enlist in the armed forces. Food's provided, as are skill sets that can be applied to a career once the service contract is fulfilled. And as a former Marine, I can say that a significant portion of jarheads are somewhat mentally unstable and used their fair share of drugs prior to enlistment…

  4. Great, just what Ballard needs. How about creating more jobs and infrastructure instead of more housing (and I mean condo's AND shelters) when so much is still for sale.

  5. Perhaps less will go wrong than the current situation — bums, transients, drug addicts, and crazies (I would use very different words, but, hey, whatever) in Ballard but /not/ housed.

  6. Three primary reasons for homelessness: serious mental disorder, long-term substance abuse and runaways (due to physical and emotional abuse at home). The terms, “down of their luck” is a pretty outdated term. Many of these people–even if they're mentally sound and sober–have difficulty living a “normal” life and will continuously require public assistance.

  7. Do they actually own the lot? I am sure that Compass get some assistance finacially from somewhere as they don't actually 'make' any money but rely on donations. All I am saying is, it is very well housing/helping people but there has to be a long term target to get them not needing assistance. Isn't is ridiculous that the same guys are in Ballard after 7 years still selling Real Change and still living in a shelter?

    Give a man a fish and he feeds for a day, teach a man to fish……..

  8. There will definitely be some problems from the residents, but how many problems and how many of the other residents will take the opportunity to move out on their own successfully? If Compass Center does this right, and there's no indication they won't, then this should ultimately reduce the number of homeless on the street causing problems.
    Here's to hoping that Compass can help those who want to be helped, and that those people don't become the new “Kan I axe you a Kweschun?” couple.

  9. I think the key phrase here is 'Support Services.' They aren't just being dumped here for the sake of a roof over their heads. It's an important difference, IMO.

  10. The truly odd thing about the “Kan I axe you a Kweschun?” girl is that I see her EVERY DAY and EVERY SINGLE DAY I tell her that I am NEVER going to give her money….and she seems not to actually recognize me from one day to the next- heck, from one hour to the next. Over the last 2 years or so I have gone from being polite to …not so much . I think she's got more than one screw loose. I just wish we could get those animals away from her; that cat-in-a-basket has got to be terrified 24/7. Ergo I have Animal Control's number in my cel phone.

  11. I had volunteered to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a Women's Shelter run by the Compass Center. The residents there were very respectful of the volunteers and one another. Many of these women escaped from domestic violence situations. The shelter offered them an alternative to being homeless.

    Of course that is not to say that troubles do not and will not arise. Regardless of who the residents are, you've got several people living in a compact location. Add the fact that the residents are living high stress lives, and Iwould expect an occaisional outburst. But then, you'll get that in other high density residences as well (condos/apartments). Evidence is all the posts on the forum from folks complaining about loud, disrespectful or irresponsible neighbors.

    I will assume that the folks in this shelter will be better citizens than if they were on the street. As a resident, benefiting from the Compass Center, they will feel a responsibility to represent the organization in a positive way. And doing so will hopefully give them some sense of pride back that will get them on their way to living independent lives again.

  12. Which is of course why we have so many crimes committed by military personnel today. Sorry I am not in favor of giving weapons it mentally unstable people.

  13. I'm sorry, this is not a conversation about “crimes committed by military personnel” or the insinuation that homeless locals are mentally unstable and/or drug users. It is about a building and a property-owner's intended us for it. Take your trolling elsewhere, please.

  14. Are you a homelessness expert? If so, please cite your sources. I'd be interested to see where these three primary reasons are documented and the methodology for documenting such traits in a transient population. Thank you, Newmster.

  15. Are you a member of Compass Center's service personnel, screening body or volunteer group? If not, I'm curious why you wish to assume that they are doing an inadequate job.

  16. I have neighbors who live (and own) in single family homes who are drug addicted dealers. I would trade them in for a place like Compass plans any day.

  17. Try living near one of their other “centers”…. The turnover in their centers is quite frequent. Lots of new strangers in the residential neighborhood. It is not fun.

  18. You assume a lot. Until you live near one of their centers, stop making assumptions. Stopping by for a thanksgiving dinner to make yourself feel special is A LOT different than actually being a homeowner near one of their centers.

  19. I'm a “homeless” person living in transitional housing with five other “homeless” people, and even I can see that Seattle has gone overboard with building low-income housing or housing for the homeless.

    Trying to help people is one thing – making Seattle a “destination” city for homeless people is another. You can't go two blocks in downtown Seattle without running into one or more shelters or low-income buildings of one type or another.

    Yet now “homeless” organizations are building a new facility at First & Cedar, and this new one in Ballard. As a “homeless” person observing and living with other “homeless” people, I really don't see the need.

    People need to change their behavior if they want to succeed in life. Then they can get any housing they want. A lot of “homeless” people just want to party, and even when they get into transitional housing they just tend to sit around, watch t.v., and hang out with friends instead of trying to get educated (at least get a G.E.D.?), find a job, or seek housing.

    Most of the comments I've heard from activists about the need for more shelter beds or more housing are just propaganda these days.

  20. Yes. I am assuming a lot. So are you.

    Normally I am a skeptic and a cynic. But for the moment I have decided to try to change my ways. Ballard is my neighborhood. This building is going in whether I like it or not. So I am going to think positive about these new neighbors until they show me that they don't deserve it.

    I realize that popping in for a few hours on a holiday is different than living next to one of these centers. The fact that it was a holiday likely spread a feeling of well-being and tolerance among us all – just as it does among the population in general. So again, me (and others) having a positive attitude towards them will hopefully spread. Naive perhaps. But having a negative attitude like yours long before ground is even broken can only encourage failure.

  21. Well, I live on this block and the homeless situation is really out of hand. I have homeless people loitering in the alley behind my house everyday, some of them drink and litter on the steps of my back porch, one was almost caught stealing from my neighbor's yard, and just recently I witnessed two females enter a male's car and smoke crack before driving away. The bushes behind my house are littered with empty cans and bottles. I really don't want to sound or be like a republican but I am less than enthused with this building being constructed a block away from where I live. Shouldn't a 7-story building of anything be located downtown? The new Ballard really sucks for the old Ballard residents who haven't fled.

  22. Mike you,ve got that right! If not for those around most of these groups and churches would invent homelessness.
    The HANDOUT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX (HIC) is big business in Seattle.

    The goal to end homelessness is a joke! Seattle is known as the town where you can get fat on free food and a place to crash.
    As long as this party is allowed , more and more will come.

  23. Exactly. As I said, I currently live near one of their “centers”.

    By nature, it brings a lot of strangers of questionable character into the neighborhood. Not great when you have kids.

    These centers should be downtown, where parents and homeowners should not have to worry about random strangers walking through their yard at 2am. Stick several addicts in a house, and trouble will start.

  24. I am, in fact, offended that you use this as a forum for your ill will against military-service personnel. That's not the topic here. If you wish to further that conversation, I'd strongly suggest you do so where you have an audience for it. Here, it's merely antagonistic and presents you as an uneducated kneejerk troll. I strongly doubt that was your intention, ym.

  25. They're hanging out in your alley because they got pushed out of the parks around market. As long as those business owners don't have to see them, they don't give a rip that they've pushed them onto our yards. Out of sight, out of mind.

  26. I'm surprised to see comments from people who complain about the homeless loitering and littering, and harrassing patrons of Ballard businesses but at the same time don't want the Compass Center in Ballard, which will provide housing and counseling to get those very same homeless people off our streets. If you don't want them on the streets, and you don't want them in housing, what is your solution?

  27. kneejerk troll? I think you're the one overreacting here neighbOr.
    Commenting in regards to someone who recommends military service in the same paragraph that they say those same people are mentally unstable and have criminal pasts, is hardly out of line.
    The comment isn't especially harsh in light of the fact that there has been a bunch of crimes comitted by not only ex military, but current military while off post.
    I'm sorry if everyone isn't observing some blind loyalty to the military here, but most of us realize that members of the armed forces are people like us with all their faults as well as their strengths. You should feel free to defend the service members, but the comment was not out of line.

  28. The Compass Center buys regular houses in residential neighborhoods and makes them into rehab/transitional centers. The one in my neighborhood got a big approval push from Ron Sims., despite concerns from homeowners.

    It is one thing to buy an apartment or commercial building and convert it to a transitionalhousing/rehab, it is another beast when you buy a house in a residential neighborhood and house homeless addicts in it.

  29. And what's the experience been?

    Not being facetious in the least, I'm truly curious to hear what kind of neighbor they make, what if any problems we can anticipate, and how we might be able to be proactive in this instance to mitigate any negative side effects of having a Compass Center in DT Ballard.
    Like some of the others here, I'm sick of the homeless problem (or more accurately the bums) and would like to be supportive of programs that will reduce the number of homeless on the streets that does more than just warehouse them temporarily.

  30. We're talking about two completely different things. The people in Andrew's yard (and the post that i replied to) are the ones who were recently pushed out of the exclusion zone, who then landed on 7-11's property, were pushed off of there and continue to move up the blocks into the neighborhood. This has nothing to do with Compass Center. This has to do with the “get them out of my line of view” attitude with regard to homelessness and not a shelter.

  31. Homeless citizens are a necessary unpleasantness of urban life. I just think that a 7-story building to house them doesn't belong in a neighborhood such as Ballard. Why can't this be built downtown? I feel the same way about the unsightly condos being built for the gainfully employed in our neighborhood. I would like to see some statistics that support the notion that a 7-story homeless shelter will decrease the homeless foot traffic in the neighborhood and not increase it, as is widely suspected. And besides, isn't it true that this shelter will do nothing for the homeless nuisance loitering and drinking in my, our, alley(s)? As I understand, being drunk and/or on drugs disqualifies someone from admittance to most shelters. How can our community deal with these people in a positive way? Calling the police day after day after day is obviously not a solution.

  32. I think the only honest answer is BOTH. We do have a real need for places like the Compass Center facilities, but at the same time we also need the other end of the problem being taken care of with law enforcement. I know I wouldn't last an hour on my block behaving like these bums*, yet because they're homeless too many people will tolerate their shenanigans. The police seem impotent to do anything about it, or just unwilling to deal with the bums. I'm not talking about rousting a homeless person who sits down, but enforcing the laws against the openly drunk and rowdy bums, the dealers, the petty thieves, etc.
    Use a two pronged approach of treating the addictions and counseling the homeless into a more productive life alongside an active policing of the criminal behaviors and you'll hardly see any bums on the streets.

    *Though most bums are homeless, not all homeless are bums. We're all adult enough here to know the difference and not be offended by the correct use of each word.

  33. Exactly. And from what I understand of this shelter (from what I read in My Ballard now and previously) is that there will be people there to both help and monitor the residents. This won't just be a place to put them.
    You're not going to do anything about the homeless problem by putting them elsewhere, out of sight out of mind.

  34. Is that last quote yours? It's a good one.
    There are many reasons people are homeless. Some can be helped with the right helping hand, others have addictions they may never be rid of and the cross they bear becomes the neighborhood's cross too. A two pronged effort is smart, so it'll probably never happen.

  35. I see the benefit to getting people off the street and giving them a chance, but I would really want to see what their policy is. Good people do fall on hard times and need homes… but I would hate to see a liquor store pop up next door just after it opens. As other have mentioned… it really doesn't help make jobs. If you look across America or Ballard, there is no shortage of homes or places to stay… there is a shortage of work.

  36. The bums and druggies and low-lives need to be put on a bus and given a one way ticket to Portland. Homeless shelters have no place in a residential neighborhood.
    If they are mental then they need to be in an institution. If strung out on dope then throw them in jail to sober up followed by a stint on a chain gang.

  37. 7 years and still selling Real 'give me some' Change isn't surprising. This is the bum life writ large. Why better yourself when there's suckers with handouts.

  38. SPD rounds them up and throws them in the downtown shelters.
    Ballard is bum free and the bums are in shelters downtown and out of a residential neighborhood. That is how.

  39. yeah, that is my standard disclaimer when discussing homeless issues or talking about bums acting up and causing problems. I never thought of it as quote worthy, but just a way to avoid the thread spiraling off into the all god's creatures vs kill 'em all type of debate.

  40. …and yet it is people who share your view who closed the state run mental facilities because they didn't think that hard workin' folk should pay for a resort for loonies.
    It feels good to blast out some harsh rhetoric with simple solutions, but unfortunately the realities are a lot more complex.

    And by the way, in your scenario Portland would bus them right back, and all those one way bus fares would accomplish nothing but cost more than housing and counseling ever would.

  41. They are unnecessary.
    The mental need to be institutionalized and helped. Having them on the streets is just cruel.
    The dope addicts need to be in jail.
    Once sober chain gangs will do wonders for their addiction and we can get the garbage picked up and the graffiti cleaned up and the parks can be used by taxpayers again.
    Liberals do not wish to help the homeless, they just want to use them to further one's career or agenda.

  42. Is this a realistic plan? Do you think the Seattle Police have the time and resources to be a transportation system for “the bums?” From what I read here, other commenters mentioned that repeated calls to the police have been useless.

  43. the company it will attract is my concern. yes, some may be down on their luck homeless that are “responsible” but the ones that aren't and are chronic are the real issue and concern. chronics generally don't change and bring problems that ballard doesn't need. THEY have to want to improve their lives, not receive a constant handout and the neighborhoods expense.

  44. In case you haven't noticed, there are a lot more than 80 homeless people in Seattle.

    This will not remove people from the streets, it will bring more people into the neighborhood. The best way to attract the homeless is to offer free services.

    After the viaduct is gone, and those multi-million dollar waterfront condos are ready for flipping, that mess on the streets in Belltown will have to get moved – I guess to Ballard, where the residents don't have the ability to anticipate problems, and even less of an ability to focus on solving them.

    There are plenty of places in Seattle that need redevelopment, and where this 80-unit development would be an improvement. It should be put in an area that will be made better by it, not worse.

  45. Ballard is part of Seattle and does not have a right to some sort of special privilege. In case you have not paid attention downtown is also a residential neighborhood.

  46. Since I haven't seen this covered yet in the discussion here: why did the center all of a sudden become males & females instead of female-only? I'd be *much* more supportive of a women's shelter/facility, as I feel that a bigger proportion of the women homeless have rehabilitation potential, and that those who don't will have less negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

  47. BTW, I just wanted to again applaud the Compass Center for their efforts to make the post-demo lot visually appealing by trucking away the detritus and fixing the fence on the west side, and now their reported receptiveness to even more community-friendly ideas. If only certain former-Denny's-and-Great-Clips-lot-owners were so responsible! I like to judge organizations by their acts, and Compass Center is in my “plus” column — I hope they'll stay there as the the planning and work on the new center moves along.

  48. I just hope that the Compass Center has a lot of doorways. Then maybe the homeless will use those doorways as a toilet instead of of the door to our office!

  49. We're obviously just getting to the silly extremes, because if you really could round 'em up and put 'em on a bus, you may as well keep them there indefinitely as a kind of rolling jail for the crime of being homeless.
    The put 'em on a bus thing isn't exactly legal, and more importantly doesn't solve the problem at all. Maybe what we need to do is put a little effort into breaking the cycle of homelessness and addiction by giving them transitional housing with counseling and monitoring…oh wait, I guess that would be what Compass is trying to do.

  50. It's particularly sad to think that you probably are a dad, and you're passing down to a younger generation your inane (not insane, insanity is actually a pathology that one day we hope to find a cure for) and intolerant beliefs.
    Maybe one of your kids will one day be homeless, 'strung out on dope' or luckily both, despite your best efforts and best behavior. What would you think then?

  51. That's a lot of money to build something like that. Do they have the funds already? Or is this a wish and a prayer project?

    Overall I think I'm supportive. This sounds lot more productive then the church-motel, plus 56th isn't nearly as residential.

  52. I live on 56th St; one building from the empty lot they are going to build that Center. Seeing other Centers in other neighborhoods, I already know this is going to be a mess.

    56th St. already has a problem with drugs, alcoholics, and those that wander this neighborhood looking for them. As I have seen before in other neighborhoods, this is going to increase crime, drugs, and panhandling, but reduce the standard of living in this area.

    I feel sorry for any property owners in this area, because to protect your rights, you are going to have to patrol your properties 24/7, call the police constantly, and spend a lot of time cleaning all of the trash and urine that is going to build-up in this neighborhood. Just like all of the other neighborhoods that have these Centers.

    Just based on the information in this article, I am now moving off of this street by the time this Center opens.

  53. @ ballard dad. I read your crap and picture you waving to at least one of your kids on that bus to Portland. But I know that when your kids or a relative go off the rails with a bipolar condition surfacing in their late teens or an addiction or just plain laziness encouraged by an entitled adolescence, your tune will change and you will be on these forums ranting about the lack of public programs and an uncaring society. Because as sure as there are addicts, and lazy homeless taking advantage of people, there is hypocrisy. In my life I have seen so many people change their tune when it is their family in need. Never say never.

  54. The experience is not good. Lots of turnover,which means lots of strangers coming and going at all hours of the day and night. The residents just hang around all day long, I am not sure that they are required to work or volunteer during the day. A lot of them seem out of it as they are addicts. They really cram people in the centers also. And this is in a residential neighborhood.

    If they take advantage of this in a residential neighborhood, imagine what will happen in an 80 unit complex, I am guessing 200+ people will be crammed in. good luck with that. The city council and planning commission will pat themselves on the back for approving this far away from their own homes.

  55. It means they pay no property taxes on these centers, contribute nothing to the neighborhoods or the public services provided to them. They are a tax-exempt magnets for addicts and their friends in residential neighborhoods.

  56. One nice thing about non-profits is their transperancy.
    You can use web-sites such as Guide Star or Charity Navigator to view annual reports and Federal Tax Form 990. From this, you may be able to intuit an aswer to questions about funding and planning.
    Some organizations post this information on their web sites.
    Also many readers could research the web and learn the differentiation between emergency shelters/centers, transitional housing, housing support services and so forth. Greater understanding may allevieate fears.

  57. As anyone who's read the forums over the past months can attest, I'm no fan of the bums*, drunks, addicts, and cast a wary eye even on the soberest of the homeless. Yet, I just don't find myself up in arms over this. I'm not really worried about them paying taxes because if they do what they're claiming, they are taking homeless/potential bums off the street and helping them become more like you and me…productive and tax paying. Even if their success rate is only 50% that will be worth forgoing property tax from what is now a vacant lot.
    The flipside though is the impact on the immediate neighbors, and that's something we'll have to deal with and hopefully be able to work out a way for the Compass Center to take steps to ensure that they become a good neighbor.

  58. The turnover issue isn't a huge concern as it hopefully means that more people are processing out onto their own and that they're helping more people. It does mean that you don't get to know your neighbors, but in this case I don't think we'll really need to.
    As to hanging around all day, what are they actually doing? Are they hanging around getting high or drinking? Fighting? Making noise?
    I have a family with teenagers on the block and they have people coming and going too. Apartments have a lot of people coming and going. As long as it's just people coming and going I don't see a problem.
    I think that we should talk to Compass about how or even if they will be policing this. What is their policy on what residents do during the day? What is their policy on drug use? Do they enforce a curfew? Would they enforce a curfew if we ask?
    I think that at this stage we still have an opportunity to shape the outcome here and we should take advantage of it. Doubtless there will be more impact from the Compass Center than there is from the current vacant lot, but considering the good that a place like this can do and hopefully the reduction in actual bums* from having places like this, we should be a little more open to them.

    *Although most bums are homeless, not all homeless are bums and we shouldn't be shy about recognizing the distinction.

  59. You can't compare the teenager and their friends down the street to a house full of addicts and their “friends”. Most likely you know the teenager's parents. And this is in a strictly residential single house neighborhood, no apartments here. High turnover may be good for them, but not for the homeowners.

    You don't see a problem because it is not near your home which you own.

  60. Karma is a bitch, you are fine with it because it is not next to your home. Just like Ted Kennedy was fine with green energy until it blocked his cape view.

  61. Why does Ballard get all the homeless shelters? Could you imagine if these shelters were erected in Queen Anne or Magnolia? It would never happen….Politics as usual.

  62. I agree. They will have 24/7 supervision and in-house services to help them to function. No doubt they will also have rules to follow. Compass Center is not the type of organization that just opens their door to an all-day, all-expenses paid party. Hopefully, it will get some folks off the street, but my guess is the drunks and drug addicts who are sleeping in doorways will NOT go live there because they don't want to follow the rules and sober up. Because of that I don't see it bringing more street drunks to the neighborhood at all. I think all around this is a good thing and hopefully will get a few people on the streets off the streets in Ballard. As for the “Kan I ask you a Kweston” people – I doubt they would be interested in following the rules to live in the Compass Center housing. They seem like they just want people to pay their way and let them do their own (f-ed up) thing.

  63. I don't discount the impact on your block. I'm just trying to figure out how these impacts in, from what you describe is a much more single family block will translate to downtown Ballard.
    I too question putting this type of facility in a single family block, and I wouldn't be thrilled to have them as my new next door neighbor, but putting it into more of a commercial/apartment area shouldn't be as dramatic an impact on the neighborhood.
    The other question is if the residents are actually addicts or recovering addicts. Unfortunately I've had a cousin who went through rehab and transitional housing so I do realize that it isn't fun times for everyone involved. Ultimately though, the end result was much better than leaving them to continue spiraling down to being a statistic that you have to avoid on the street.

  64. The Ballard District Council had a meeting about this Wednesday night which was not advertised at all, and this article was published the next day. There are obviously a lot of opinions about the shelter being built which have not been expressed publicly. I have bookmarked the District Council website and definitely plan to attend the next meeting to discuss this issue and field some important questions, ie, what disqualifies an individual from staying at the shelter, where the money is coming from, and how they decided on my neighborhood to build this place?

    I'm in favor of helping out homeless families who are down on their luck, but I also want public funds (if that is where the money is coming from) to be aimed getting the homeless alcoholics off my street. And I still think that a 70-story building of anything doesn't belong in Ballard. If we don't stop this unchecked development Ballard just might be downtown in 2012 (the year the building is supposed to be finished). The issue is about homeless people but it is also about development and what Ballard will look like in a few years. Anyone interested should also bookmark the Council website and attend the next meeting to go public about their neighborhood:

  65. “In case you have not paid attention downtown is also a residential neighborhood.”

    Go downtown and hang out at the intersection of Washington & Yesler across from Muscatel Meadows. Sweet Rose, NoraBell … As a woman, would you be comfortable entering those residences by yourself at night? Walking those blocks? Waiting for a bus at the stop across from the courthouse? Are those locations your definition of a residential neighborhood? I don't see any property owners, families, children on those blocks.

    I work across from the courthouse in public service and am solicited daily for sex, drugs and money. At least two or three times a day. Is this something you want Ballard to turn into?

    Sure, some of the folks using these facilities are down on their luck. However, the overwhelming majority of them (and before someone tries to get cute, I've asked them) have no interest at all in improving their situation. Those are the folks that make these centers a target for ne'er do wells, chronic drunks, addicts and offenders.

  66. Andrew,

    The meeting was advertised. This very website posted an article about it on 9/9, citing Compass as being the first agenda item. I didn't look, but I imagine it was in our local paper too.

    And it's a 7 story building, not 70.

    It belongs in Ballard as much as it belongs downtown. Why shouldn't these folks get a chance to live in a vibrant neighborhood like ours?

    Ballard has its own downtown, and Compass is building in it.

  67. Not being confrontational, but you cite facts about other neighborhoods. Is there a particular article or a study you can refer to us? Anecdotes are nice and all, but I'm a fan of cold, hard data.

  68. I don't think the “Kan I axe you a kwestshun” couple will move in and straighten out, but I hope that this place can reduce the number of people on their way to becoming the next generation of street con artists and addicts.
    We're always complaining on here about what can be done to reduce the number of bums causing trouble on the streets, and here is part of a possible answer. The other part is to stop funding the bums with handouts and get the cops to cite the criminal bums. The rest of the homeless can then hopefully find their way into the shelters/programs.
    If I were emperor I'd reopen the mental hospitals too and then we'd see that everyone gets what they need, the criminals get justice, the party bums can sober up, and the down on their luck get a helping hand to get back on track. Done and done.

  69. Sorry, that was a type-o, it's a 7-story, 80 unit building. As I write this there are two homeless men drinking right behind my house and I can either abide it or go out there and ask them to leave or call the police (not a joke). The shelter is being built less than 100 yards from where I live. I will give my full support if the shelter will help this situation out. Honestly, I don't know how it will.

    56th street is not downtown Ballard. Developers are making it that way. If you live here then I sympathize with you, but if you don't then supporting the shelter means little sacrifice on your part. Again, I would like to see statistics that support the claim an 80-unit homeless shelter will decrease homeless activity and not increase it.

    Homelessness is a social problem and everyone needs to contribute to its solution. I'm not against tax dollars going towards helping out the unfortunate, but I still don't think a 7-story building belongs in the spot where the shelter is being built. There is a 6-story eyesore next to it. Development needs to be checked or Ballard will just become…

    I just had to threaten calling the police to get these people to leave. A conversation I overheard: “I just got $200 in foodstamps that I'm about to sell. Can I buy you a beer?” Again, not a joke.

  70. And this is where we need the stick part of the carrot and stick analogy. The cops should be coming down on people slinging dope, drinking in public, soliciting, etc.
    I've never understood how the police in this town can turn a blind eye to so much so often and keep their jobs. I'm not even talking about being everywhere, but when a drunk jaywalks in front of a cop car and tosses his empty beer can in the street the cop just ignored it and drove on. How many of us would get away with that?

  71. The Ballard District Council had a meeting about this Wednesday night which was not advertised at all, and this article was published the next day. There are obviously a lot of opinions about the shelter being built which have not been expressed publicly.

    The meeting is known to take place the second Wednesday of every month. It's not exactly a secret. Don't point blame at someone else because you're not informed.

    The agenda was also mentioned here prior to the meeting:

  72. Call. The. Police.
    They might not get there in time to do anything this time, but if you do it enough they will have to do something about it. Seattle Police do not patrol. The system is set up on the cheap to only provide enough police to respond to the minimum of calls. This is also why there are so few cops on duty at night. The calls about car prowls come in for the morning shift to take reports instead of having a few of those guys go out at night and actually catch the thieves in the act.

  73. 56th street is not downtown Ballard.

    Your particular block of 56th may seem more residential to you, but a great deal of 56th (especially the blocks surrounding yours) is much less than residential.

    Again, you can thank the squeaky wheels for having your new friends sent away from Market Street and onto yours. This is why we need a means of helping and dealing with the homeless situation and not just shoving them aside or making them someone else's problem.

  74. Aren't we supposed to live in a democratic society? Sometimes I think not.

    If the majority of the neighbors do not want the shelter there, surely they should have some say. If 51% of the people say No then it shouldn't happen.

    If you look at the website here, by far the posts regarding the homeless issue have by far more response than any others. I think people generally feel strongly one way or the other about this. It annoyed me that when a vote was held at Old Redeemers about a shelter, the vote was a big majority saying No, but it still went ahead anyway.

    There are so many good causes out there, and the homeless situation is one of them, but what about having some sort of hospice for cancer sufferers?? There are far more people with terminal cancer in King county than homeless people.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and it doesn't make them a bad person for saying “I don't want a shelter in my neighborhood!”

    I guess if Compass own the land then they should be able to do what they like, providing they have to follow the rules and pay all the taxes if anyone else had bought it. There should be no different rules for churches or charitable organizations in my view.

    Meeting aren't always advertised well as often they don't want people speaking up. Ballard is a beautiful place, and many of us pay a handsome sum to live here, the homeless do not have a right to live in a vibrant neighborhood like ours unless they contribute to it like we have.

  75. Exactly, developers are making it a downtown area, with the full support of the city and the folks who sell their property to developers for big bucks.

    If those homeless guys had a room to drink in, maybe they would do it there and not on the streets. In the meantime, call the police when you are bothered by public drinking.

    I like beer too, and if I had only food stamps, I would use some of them for beer.

  76. I saw this happening 30 years ago in Pioneer Square, 25 years ago near Volunteer Park, 20 years ago in Bell Town, 10-15 years ago in the U- District, 5-10 years ago on Capital Hill, and now it's happening to Ballard.
    The Insiders who rule Seattle decide that a specific neighborhood needs to be upgraded, but the neighbors don't like it. So they let the buidings deteriorate, and bring the bums in. After five years or so, the neighbors get discouraged and give up and quit fighting, and just let the developers have their way.
    I've heard stories of cops telling the bums and drug dealers what part of town to move to. If you have been around Seattle long enough, you will remember when each of those neighborhoods I just mentioned were overrun by undesireables, until the developers moved in, and then the police rousted them to the next target area.
    It's Ballard's turn now, and my prediction is that because Ballard has so many younger, newer residents, the residents will roll over a lot faster and easier than the neighborhoods that are more organized. Too bad it's a skid row development that's moving in, instead of a snazzy development.

  77. Technically it's a representative democracy.

    And the meeting is held the 2nd Wednesday of every month. If only people were interested in their neighborhood and how it works ALL THE TIME rather than just when something they don't like pops up. But as I understand it, we should have a say unless we have something else to do that day.

  78. I could survey my neighbors and see if they want the area in front of their house designated their own private parking only, but it doesn't mean that will or should happen. Not all things that are voted on or are the widely held opinion are the right thing.

  79. But is someones tax dollar is being spent on something they don't want (whether it is a war, shelter, health care, or wall street bailout) shouldn't we get a say?

    It is not right to go against the majority to satisfy a minority.

    I am all for helping people, but as I said before there are so many causes out there. Why does Ballard always have to have shelters and soup kitchens? Geographically we are a tiny neighborhood, how many people are we supposed to support with handouts?

    I shall make sure I check the Ballard District site from now on and attend meetings to voice my opinion.

  80. “If those homeless guys had a room to drink in, maybe they would do it there and not on the streets. “

    How can I get the public to pay for that for me? Sit around all day and drink French wine, never work. What a deal.

  81. Drink to the point of unconciousness, seizure.
    Wear pants reeking of pee
    Have every friend turn away
    and you would earn this special priveledge.

  82. A shelter proposal is not happening here.
    A solution for the homelessness social problem you mention.
    Homelessness is a lack of housing.
    This in not even a discussion of transitional housing with support services on site.
    The proposal is for a 7 story building with 80 units of permanent housing.

  83. Karen see list of shelters and areas
    Roots : University District
    Peace for the Streets: Capitol Hill
    Downtown Emergency Service Center
    Aloha Inn: Queen Anne
    Catholic Community Services: CD
    Sacred Heart: Lower Queen Anne
    Jubilee Women’s Center: Capitol Hill
    Teen Hope: Shoreline
    Interfaith Hospitality: Beacon Hill

  84. One of the few things I have learned in my VERY long life is that nothing ever remains the same…other than human nature of course. Today I was in the CD talking to a store owner about the changes there. She said it is a very angry and also a very confused neighborhood right now. The old CD is angry and the new CD does not understand why they have not been welcomed with open arms. Cities grow and neighborhoods change. Do I always like it? No but sometimes I do like it. The CD is a perfect example. Look at the mansions built at the turn of the century that were made into tenement apartments by the 50s that are now being renovated back into mansions. In another 50 years they may well be tenements again.

    We often make our choices in life based on the idea that the factors we used to determine our choice will never change. Plans are what we tell god to make her laugh. I do plan for the future, very carefully in fact, but I also plan for the future to be drastically different than what I think it might be.

    Houses and neighborhoods are places to live. They do not define who we are.

  85. Compared to other public meetings in the past 2 years, it had *very little* advertising. I've lived here 10 years, and only found out about the existence of BDC meetings last year. They may be well known among an “in” group, but meetings such as the Viaduct project and Missing Link and even the Design Review Board meetings are *much* better advertised to the general public.

    Advertising the day of the meeting (as in the MyBallard article) is nice, but doesn't count.

  86. Lars: “why shouldn't these folks get a chance to live in a vibrant neighborhood like ours”
    Answer: because they are getting a handout — beggars can't be choosers.

  87. I'll say what everyone else tells me every time I complain about another condo going up. They own the property. They can do whatever they want with it.

  88. Please do voice your opinion.
    I'd rather see this center go in somewhere else too, like a deserted island, but being realistic it has to go somewhere in Seattle if it's going to serve the homeless of Seattle. If the Compass Center can do what it advertises and ultimately reduce the number of bums on the street, then we have to look at the tradeoff as being the price we pay for the greater good.

  89. Why does it feel like Ballard is holding up a sign that says, “Welcome to Ballard homeless people”. Yes I know not all homeless are drug dealers and drug users. I guess I'm just tired of being near the food bank, church homeless men's shelter and now this new building all within a close walking distance. I'm tired of people peeing in my yard. Tired of a way too much trash thrown in my yard. Tired of the yelling and fighting. Tired of being afraid to walk since some do make inappropriate comments. Tired of having Ballard be treated like downtown Seattle. This is a flipping neighborhood! Not a home for vagrants!

  90. Why? Because you don't put up a fight, nor does anyone else. I don't mean whining on some blog, or sending emails. I mean like doing a little work, like finding out where Compass' money comes from, and which decision-makers are also funded by the same monies.
    I mean like making sure the people on the neighborhood boards represent your interests.
    I mean like going out and doorbelling your neighbors, and putting up a website with current information.

    “Oh. That.” you say.

    Nevermind. Go back to your electronic distractions, your TV, your Tivo, your Ipod, your games, whatever.

  91. I totally agree with you, nobody wants to actually do any work. This year when there was objection to the shelter proposal by the Old Redeemers church, I said I would pay for and put a table outside the church with flyers on the night of the shelter vote. I even arranged for press coverage, i gave my contact detail and asked for help on this website. Not a single person was willing to actually give their help. Not a single person.

    Even the most frequent and vocal bloggers here wrote back and said they preferred to remain anonymous.

    I am active, I do pay attention to the board and I do attend the community meetings. Yes, dear, I do put up a fight and no it isn't just on blogs.
    Oh Margaret Bartley, Get off your high horse. I feel sorry for you – so full of negativity, anger, and SO QUICK to assume. chances are, you were just too busy “putting people in their place” on blogs such as these than to actually “participate”.

    I would rather have the homeless people as neighbors than your angry self as my neighbor ringing my door bell ranting and raving like a lunatic.

  93. The initial plan *was* for a woman's shelter to compensate for one that was expected to close. That one was able to stay open, so the plans changed to accomodate men and women in the Ballard site

  94. Having purchased the property, their next step is fund raising. They don't have the money in the bank now. Grant writing is one of their next steps.

  95. If you are “a fan of cold, hard data”, you should have no problem finding that information for yourself. Find the addresses of all facilities like the Compass Center and coordinate the addresses with the Seattle Police Departments crime statistics. That will provide you with everything you need.

    The best “cold, hard data” you can find is actually going to those locations. Go at different times of the day and night. Smell around. Ask other people that live in those areas what they have experienced in those neighborhoods.

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