The Homeless Neighbor

An Inside Look Into Ballard’s Homeless Population
By Christian Caple

It’s February in Seattle, but the sun is shining and the sky is blue, and so Roy Schneider, who owns an auto repair shop called Exhaust Specialties in Ballard, is taking a break and relaxing outside, talking to a police officer parked in his cruiser. There’s something that’s eating at him, though, which is possibly why he was talking to that officer in the first place. “You should see what goes on here at night,” Schneider says of his business on the corner of 15th Ave. NE and Leary Way. “You’d have to bring a crew down here to watch this. They come out of the woodworks, selling drugs and all that.”

Scroll below to watch the video:

‘They’ are the area’s homeless, many of whom sleep under the bridges and in campers and cars near Schneider’s auto shop.

It’s stories like these–and there are many, Schneider says–that have helped spur changes to Ballard laws, most notably the approval and implementation in June of an exclusion zone in Ballard’s three parks: Bergen Place, Marvin’s Garden and Ballard Commons Park, all within walking distance from each other.

The law is simple, and easy enough to enforce: you break the law in one park—the focus is on illicit drug use and sales–you’re banned from all three. According to a June 4 story posted on MyBallard, exclusions last a week for a first offense, 90 days for a second and a full year for a third. It’s designed to cut down on drug dealing and inappropriate sexual behavior after dark, something that had been prevalent and worrisome to local residents and business owners.

“There was some concern in the com about just an increased illegal negative behavior in the three parks close to downtown Ballard or in downtown Ballard,” said Brock Milliern, the security supervisor for Seattle Parks and Recreation.

But that intent may be indirectly harming the area’s homeless community, many of whom sleep in the parks without shooting up or selling drugs. For example, take Wade, a homeless man who identified himself only by his first name, who was speaking with a friend one day when a police officer approached him.

“They said they had a suspicion of drug activity in the park, and said I couldn’t go in the park,” he said.

Wade said the police made him sign a paper that said he was banned from Ballard parks for a year–even though he hadn’t been cited before–simply because he looked homeless, and they suspected that he may have been involved in the apparent drug activity.

“I hadn’t even set foot in the park that day,” Wade said.

That’s not the worst of it, he says. Two weeks later, Wade awoke after sleeping in the bushes, then trekked into Ballard Commons Park (the skate park), because that’s the only place he can get clean water for his water jug.

But on his way out, he ran into the same police officer who forced him to sign the exclusion agreement two weeks prior.

“You’re not supposed to be in the parks,” the cop told him.

The result was two days in jail.

“All I was doing was getting water,” Wade said. “It’s terrible. There are people who drink in the park all day and get away with it. It’s something else.” Milliern said the exclusion zone wasn’t meant to specifically single out the homeless community, and that while many sleep in the parks, that isn’t the main focus of the policy.

“It is something you could be written an exclusion for,” Milliern said. “I don’t remember that being one of the issues. People were concerned about it, but that’s not particularly what it was supposed to stop.

“In the drug dealing, they (the homeless) probably weren’t a big problem. They were a bigger problem in the alcohol consumption and public intoxication aspect.”

An Aug. 7 story on quotes Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher as saying that he thinks the exclusion laws are really working, and according to the story, police had issued 13 park exclusions, along with 36 citations for drinking in the park.

The Seattle Police Department declined comment for this story.

There are others on the side of the homeless who say the drug use in the parks isn’t a Ballard homeless issue, but a case of drug users simply being kicked down the road.

Sue Allegra, the administrative manager for the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, said that the city of Seattle’s cleanup of Belltown 18 months ago–which was intended to cut down on sex and drug use, specifically in the alley ways–moved that same activity to the parks in Ballard.

“Ballard does not have a problem with local homeless,” Allegra said. “It’s the drug dealers and aggressive panhandlers from the last push.”

By Ryan McNamee and Elena Hansen


Schneider pulls his truck out every morning and parks it on the curb outside his auto shop.

Otherwise, he says, the homeless will park their campers there.

“The businesses have no place to park their cars, or their employees, because these campers are all over the place,” Schneider said. “People are calling in every day to move these things out of here.”

The city’s tried to keep them moving, posting signs that read “No parking. 2-5 a.m.”

But both sides are left unsatisfied. Schneider and others say it still doesn’t solve the problem of businesses and their employees not having places to park.

And the area homeless say all it does is compound the problem, because when the city impounds illegally parked vehicles, they’re digging the owner an even deeper financial hole by forcing them to pay money to get their vehicle back.“You have to keep your vehicle moving around,” said James Wlos, an area homeless man. “You don’t have money for gas, they impound your vehicle. What that does, if that doesn’t make a person already in debt to begin with, a person becomes further in debt when the vehicle only sells for $100 .”

These sentiments of dissatisfaction seem to indicate that the law isn’t serving its purpose. Just like with the park exclusion laws, the parking enforcement rules can be seen as a way of continuing to move the problem elsewhere.

The drug users get kicked out of Belltown and head into Ballard. The campers living on Ballard streets either get impounded, or have to keep moving so they don’t.

But there are signs elsewhere that suggest there’s a more sustainable solution for Ballard’s dilemma.


Nancy Kapp knows what it’s like to live on the streets.

Kapp was a victim of domestic violence, which led to her and her 4-year-old daughter being homeless for four years in Santa Barbara, Calif.

She’s part of the solution now, though. Kapp is the coordinator of the Safe Parking Program for an organization called New Beginnings in Santa Barbara, a program established some seven years ago that provides parking spaces in empty lots for homeless car-sleepers to spend the night.

It’s all self-contained, Kapp says, and no alcohol, drugs or loud music is allowed in the lots while people are parked. Some of them have jobs they go to during the day. Some park on the beach for free when they have to leave in the morning. Some are former middle-class homeowners, victims of the housing crisis in notoriously rich area.

But all of them–150 in total, Kapp says, in 23 different lots–get the peace of mind that comes from not having to worry about having their car towed or being arrested for sleeping in their vehicle.

“You’ve got to know how to play the game,” Kapp said. “It’s a game. It’s not easy. It’s hard. People don’t realize being homeless, how hard that is in itself, let alone trying to find where you’re going to park your car, not being hassled by the cops. It’s a lot to have on your shoulders.”

New Beginnings is just trying to ease the load. Kapp said they mostly work with church parking lots, but that some businesses are also starting to come around. She said they aren’t given the entire lot, but usually are allotted about five or seven spots.

“People are poor,” Kapp said. “It’s not their fault a lot of times. The government’s not helping these people. Look what’s happening. That’s why communities have got to start standing up for themselves. The government’s not going to save us. We are going to save ourselves by helping each other.”

There’s at least been movement on a similar plan in Seattle. The Ballard Homes For All Coalition has proposed a small-scale car camp to support the campers that line Ballard’s streets, aiming to partner with a local church to allow six or so campers to park in their lot at night and provide them with sanitary amenities.

But they’ve hit some snags along the way. Jean Darsie, who is coordinating the effort, said they’ve received approval for funding from the state–she estimates the cost of running such an operation to be $10,000 per year–but that it took a while to find a fiscal agent, which is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization that enters into an agreement to administer state funds to the program.

Darsie said the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness agreed to be their fiscal agent, but another obstacle remained: the state Senate had proposed a 30 percent cut to the housing trust fund, which had Darsie nervous. But an amendment to that proposal by Sen. Karen Frasier (D-22) restored any money that would have been lost.

Darsie was optimistic that if the money allotted for housing projects came through, a car camp could be a real possibility.

“The funding is for one year, and we’re already into that,” Darsie said. “It expires at the end of this year, or the beginning of next year’s session. The project was designed only to run for a year.”

Santa Barbara gives hope that plans like these can work.

“It’s not the solution, but it’s a solution, and it really does help people,” Kapp said. “It gives them 12 hours where they don’t have to move their car, and they can plan or reason and get their stuff together.”

Twelve hours that the homeless in Ballard could desperately use.

“There’s no correcting it,” Schneider said. “It’s got to correct itself. People need to open up their minds and say, ‘No more.’”

Read previous stories from the Student Projects:
The Missing Link and Lights Out, Computer On

Learn more about the nonprofit Common Language Project

38 thoughts to “The Homeless Neighbor”

  1. Relax Norwegian, this is a college student writing here. I remember when I went to college. I too was all angry at rich white people screwing over the man; all it took was one sociology class to hate my race and class. It's important for a few years to be confused and convinced the transients you see on campus are being 'oppressed' by capitalism.

    Then you get older….way older. You get married, have kids, get a good job, have a mortgage and you realize that those people you saw 'getting screwed the man' on campus are still out there, 20 yrs later. You travel the world and see you bums in foreign countries. Then you realize: these guys aren't homeless, they're are bums. Understanding the difference happens when you grow up. Sadly some of our neighbors still think like 19 yr old college students in a sociology (aka victimology) class.

    Now, we should not confuse bums (dopers, freeloaders, drunks, thugs, street punks) with the genuine homeless. But the genuine homeless, those who lost their homes solely due to an unfortunate economic crisis and have no family to turn to…..those homeless are the ones you do not see. They are in shelters or transitional housing trying to get their lives together. The folks we see in Ballard? 90% are bums.

    If you put out a bus, offering $10/hr jobs and free housing to work the fields picking fruit in Yakima, how many would get on?

  2. Both of you have some great points.

    There's a world of difference between someone like Nancy Kapp and her daughter and the drugged out creep who leers at all the girls walking by. It's not people who have fallen on some temporary misfortune that is the issue, but the people who make the neighborhood feel unsafe.

    The difference is that people who are temporarily homeless are working toward returning to work, getting a permanent residence, etc. The ones that make me scared to walk around my own neighborhood at night at are the people who are so far gone that they don't want to better themselves. There are so many resources available (drug and alcohol counseling, homeless shelters, etc) that people on the streets have to be there because they're too lazy to work on getting themselves to the point where they could apply for a job. Unless they want to take advantage of the local services, there's no hope for them and they will continue to pose a risk for the city.

  3. I have no sympathy for the vast majority of homeless, they're losers, bums, druggies, boozers and/or criminals. They are homeless through choice. There are many programs available to help those who want to contribute to society rather than leeching off of it. However, Seattlelites encourage homelessness by creating an environment that encourages it by protecting bums panhaddling and harrassing citizens, giving them money for booze and drugs and allowing homeless camps all over the area. Being a bum sure beats working for a living.

    Now I do have sympathy for those that find themselves homeless through circumstance ,want to have a positive life and are willing to change. We need programs to help this small percentage of the homeless get back on their feet. The rest of the homeless are lazy bums that suck resources from our society that are better spent on people that contribute to society.

  4. Perhaps you should form a committee that judges the homeless and sorts them into two camps: “homeless through circumstance” and “lazy bums”.

    Since reality isn't nearly that black and white, you'll have to make up some sort of arbitrary criteria to separate the groups. Maybe all the left-handed homeless get to be “through circumstance”, and homeless with digital watches can be “lazy bums”.

    You should start this today. You can hand out shiny gold stars to the “through circumstance”s, and keep binders with photos of everyone in both groups. It could be this fun little hobby for you.

    1. Most of the time it is pretty damn obvious who is who among the homeless population. Here in Colorado Springs, we have real problems with entitled vagrants….

  5. I'm a Ballard resident and a UW graduate student. I'm incredibly saddened to read the comments generated thus far on this well-written/researched, respectful article about the homeless situation in our neighborhood. The author presents a possible solution for the car-camping problem that has worked in another city — why the immediate judgment of people who might use this program?

    I'd also like to ask how often other residents feel threatened or in danger because of the homeless presence in Ballard. I can honestly report that, although I witness the sad situation of homelessness on a daily basis, I do not fear for my personal safety because of homeless people in our neighborhood. I'm a frequent pedestrian and daily bus rider (and female).

    I'd also be curious to know what crimes are being committed (besides public inebriation) by homeless people in Ballard. I'm guessing the number is pretty low. And, as the article says, homeless people aren't the cause of the drug-dealing problems in the parks.

    Christian, thanks for this article. I'm grateful to read about steps being taken to create some sustainable assistance for Ballard's homeless population.

  6. And RIGHT NOW, there is a van parked around the corner from my house, all the windows are covered up. It's been there since Friday. The guy who lives in that van deposited his garbage into my yardwaste container while left out for pickup. I happened to be looking right out of the window. It was dark though so didn't exactly see which container or what he put in there otherwise I just would have gone after him right there. I've had people put their soda cans in my garbage while walking by – I don't consider that a big deal. Turns out, it was his bag of garbage into my yardwaste container, so I got a note from Waste Management. It wasn't picked up.

    I'm as compassionate as the next person. I wish these people were not homeless and I'm sure there are some who have very legit reasons, but someone explain to me why it's fair for me to have to deal with that crap?

  7. Compassion for even the world's worst off people. No sense in being an asshole because you have a house and they don't. No good will ever come of shutting people out. No good will ever come of making people feel lower than they already do. Having grown up in an environment such as Memphis, which has one of the highest murder, rape, and crime rates in the country, the homeless community of Ballard has never once made me feel at risk. Do I wish they'd stop drinking on the sidewalk and in parks? Sure, but that's just me. Their habits don't directly affect my quality of life. And if you think some homeless people in downtown Ballard affect your quality of life in your part of the neighborhood, you're fooling yourself. “Just Another Norwegian” is a perfect example of a compassionless, holier than thou middle American who thinks putting all the “bad people” in jails will solve the world's problems. Not a solution. Will the homeless population outnumber actually outnumber the “regular” people of Ballard? Fat chance. “Who cares, as long as it's not here.” Perfect example of pushing “problems” on to other people and communities. People like this are what keep actual progress and change from happening. “Just Another Norwegian,” you could use a little help yourself, just like the Ballard less than fortunate.

    This is a big old world, and there's room for all walks of life. Maybe you don't like seeing the Ballard homeless in the parks, maybe their odd ways make you feel uncomfortable. So be it. If we shut them out because we think we're better than they are, we just push them on to another group of holier than thou Middle Americans. Maybe they'll move to Magnolia, perhaps Greenlake. And then what? You congratulate yourself? Fantastic. “Homeless through circumstance,” “Lazy Bums,” does categorizing the needy make you feel better about yourself? Everyone needs, and who are we to decide who they are and what their circumstances are?

    Compassion. It can't hurt to try.

  8. Nothing to do with holier than though, just trying to prevent our community from becoming a crime ridden sh*t hole where shops close, people lose jobs, homes drop in value and go to seed, all of which undermines the tax base, which means less money for social services.

    When you become an adult, you'll understand this.

  9. Hey, I live right by the 7-11 and Ol Pequliar and have been dealing with the homeless problem for a while. The best solution I have found is to put the police non-emergency number into my phone, 206-625-5011, and call them whenever any of these people set up camp and drink. This is what I have been doing and, from what I can tell, what many people who read this forum are doing to combat the problem. This is by no means a long term solution and the police are annoyed to have to regulate a bigger social problem but hey, the situation really got out of hand the last few weeks.

    After I began calling the police everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, I noticed the homeless drunks took off for greener pastures temporarily. Citizens have to keep up on the calling, the drunks will come back (I have many, many stories about these people drinking right behind my house, pissing on my property, smoking crack, and one instance of a female performing fellatio on a guy right by my back window). It sucks to be so jaded, and it kinda sucks to have to call the police but nobody is going to take care of this situation unless all of us make a big stink about it and force the already understaffed police department to play clean up.

    If you witness any of these people breaking the law, and many laws have been broken in plain site, then call the non-emergency number and have a patrol car come and move them along. These people might not have any self respect, or respect for the community they choose to exist in, but one thing I've noticed is they hate dealing with the cops over and over.

    As a side note, I've noticed that since we all started calling the police and shoe-ing them out of the 7-11 area the Safeway bus stop on Market has become the new hangout. That place looks like an inpatient/outpatient waiting room.

  10. Not saying they're all bad…not saying compassion isn't deserved. All I'm saying is THIS ONE GUY IN THE VAN OUTSIDE MY HOUSE is pissing me off. A lot of these posts speak in very general terms, including yours. So, here is a very concrete example that his happening right now.

    This is the third time some van, camper or truck has parked near enough to me to bother me. One guy left his trash everywhere. Another guy came up to me to ask if he could “use my electricity”……really?

  11. Ballard definitely has its share of homeless people, but I don't really feel that the homeless are posing that much of a threat to my safety. At least — not the drunks. Drunks seem, (generally, that is) to be slower and their movements easier to predict. It's meth/crack users that make me nervous. I will walk out of my way to avoid a meth/crack user if I see one coming down the street toward me. So, aside from occasionally crossing the street to avoid a crackhead, I feel fairly safe in Ballard.

    Some people say that homelessness is a choice. Well, there I'm not sure if I can agree. From what I am lead to understand, most homeless people have a combination of A) mental illness and B) substance abuse. So we're not just talking about drunks and crackheads. We're talking about crazy drunks and crazy crackheads. And since I can't understand what it's like to be crazy, to really be inside a crazy person's head is impossible for me. Maybe there is no “choice” in the matter for a crazy person. Maybe crazy people can't make choices at all. Including about whether or not to seek shelter or try to quit drugs or get a job. Maybe that narrative just doesn't run through a crazy person's head.

  12. We've had a few campers on and off on our block, and they haven't been any problem. What I do have a problem with are the drunks who hurl cans and such at passersby. (This has happened to me twice while walking past Bergen Place.)

    I don't claim to know what the answer is, but I think creating (very modest) supervised residences, both permanent and transitional, can help both the homeless and the community. That's why I think projects like the new Compass Center are a good idea – just don't build too many of them in any single community, including ours.

  13. well said gurple.

    also interesting to note that Enough Already says there are “many programs” for the “lazy bums” but we “need programs” for the good homeless.

    For those of you who assert that there are great resources out there for the homeless – on what do you base that assertion? Have you been homeless? Are you an expert in social services? Do you keep apprised of current events (i.e., are you aware of the fact that social services are being cut right and left because our tax receipts have fallen dramatically?)

  14. There but for the grace of good luck go I. Sure – hard work too, but luck or the lack thereof plays a role in all of our lives. Give up the illusion that you have control over everything in your life. You don't.

    Many homeless get there through a combination of circumstances – domestic violence, injury or illness (and for those of you who think health insurance will cover you – well I'd guess you've never had a serious illness or injury, because even with insurance, it's thousands and thousands out of pocket), job loss, etc. Easy to judge when you have no freaking clue how complicated it can be.

    Recommend “It Was a Wonderful Life” for those of you who think you have all the answers.

  15. Hey, don't get me wrong. I am all for Ballard's program to make life easier for the homeless bums. It will attract more of them and help keep them out of my neighborhood.

    My problem is that most of them choose to be bums. They are lazy and /or abuse alchohol and drugs. You can't force them to be productive members of society. My point was that we shouldn't waste resources on those that are happy being bums. We should spend money on the programs that help get people that are down on their luck through job loss or other economic circumstance and want to be productive citizens back on their feet.

    The liberal feel good crowd only serves to encourage a shiftless life enjoyed by bums rather than directing valuable resources at decent people.

  16. I can't have much respect for Ballard's homeless when they're drinking on the bus and shouting obscenities at people who won't give them money (such as “all of you, suck my dick,” which is what I experienced waiting at that intersection). Not to mention the public fighting, urinating (even though there is a portapotty on market), drug use, etc.

    If this was some middle-class guy, even the most liberal of us would want some action taken; someone explain why I should care just because this person chose to be homeless?

  17. Do you know that 80% of the homeless population in King County are never seen! They are your sisters, mothers, cousins, coworkers and best friends who through economical hardships lost their housing and now either live in a car or sleep ON the actual street, either too ashamed to admit their situation to anyone or they have no one in the world to admit it to. Many of these people hold down jobs, you stand next to them in the beach, the library, grocery store or at Town Hall. Understand 'who' you're talking about before you judge. As for the homeless people having great support services…try this: assume that you (yes you) have just lost your job and have no credit cards, no family or friends to fall back on and about $300 in the bank; what would you do? Seriously, look into this and see for yourself how difficult it is to get let alone find assistance in King County. There are shelters and some housing resources (very limited in both cases) if you have children or if you are clasified as part of the 'underserved' populations (addictions, medical disorders, mental health issues, criminal history or have immigrant status) but for the average single, healthy, law abiding USA citizen in Seattle (worse if you're single female), you're pretty much on your own at this point. Please investigate this yourself before judging anyone, even a drug addict or street alcoholic who's personal circumstances you can only imagine.

  18. Thanks for the thoughtful article and video. I appreciate hearing from actual people who are experiencing homelessness.

    Just one small quibble with the One Night Count numbers you have at the end of the video. Yes, the number of homeless people did increase from 2000 to 2008. However, the most recent One Night Count done in January 2010 showed a 5% decrease in the number of homeless people on the streets.

    Homelessness is a still a huge problem and becoming more visible in Ballard, but there are solutions out there that are making a difference, such as permanent housing with services that help people regain stability.

  19. It's true that there are programs available to help people experiencing homelessness. There are also waiting lists, mounds of confusing paperwork to complete and the challenges of transportation and where to put your stuff. These are huge hurdles if you've got your wits about you and you're fully functioning. If you have mental issues or a drug problem, it's a million times harder, if not impossible, to find the help you need.

    I recently heard a presentation from someone who works with homeless people, and she said, “How do you stabilitze someone who no longer knows the meaning of the word stable?” I often wonder why we expect the people who have the biggest and most challenging problems to “help themselves” when they're obviously not equipped to do so. Sure, there are exceptions, but those stories always get circulated because they're so incredible.

  20. Unlike a lot of people on this board, as I get older, I become more compassionate to those in my community. I was raised in the suburbs and heard from a very early age that people were poor because they were lazy… period. I got out on my own, moved into a city and started to see homelessness, poverty addictions, and mental illness for the first time. It was scary. I wanted to move back to the burbs where this kind of stuff simply didn't happen.

    Eventually, I forced myself to start to talk to these weirdos. It turns out, most of them used to be just like me. They grew up in in decent circumstances but sometimes through their own mistakes and sometimes simply through untreated mental illness, they became unable to keep a job and ended up on the street.

    It's a tough thing to go through life when most people don't acknowledge your humanity. How many sane, employable people would choose that for themselves?

    There is a cure for the “blight” of homelessness. It's compassion for your fellow man and actually ponying up some resources to provide options and treatment for addiction and mental illness.

    In any society there will always be some who fall through the cracks. If you don't want to look at it, you need to do what you can to help clen it up and that's not just sending them down to Kent or Federal Way.

  21. Screw all of the ballard bums! I've never seen anything other than awful behavior out any of them. When I lived on ballard avenue and 22nd I would see the same people drinking all day and aggressivly accosting everyone that walked by who wasn't bigger than any of them. These are bad people with no common sense, decency, or initiative. It baffles me that someone wants to provide housing for them. They are all brainless, worthless, hopeless, and pathetic. As far as I am concerned they can keep lighting eachother on fire under the 15th overpass.

  22. Look at the credits in the video… brought to you by the Compass Center who
    wants to build a homeless shelter in the heart of Ballard. Hmmmmm… ?
    The Compass Center needs to stay central, downtown! and help those who truly need help.
    Ballard is comprised of families and educated professionals. The world is out on the streets,
    Ballard is open territory, lets live there and let them deal with us. There are government agency who can help, free college/classes… If they would stop spinning their wheels (literally), by figuring out how to beat the system and allow organizations to help them then they will be off the street.

  23. The homeless people I see every day in Ballard are people who are satisfied with their day to day existance consisting of getting f***ed to the sky on alcohol and drugs, using my neighborhood as a bathroom and garbage can, harrassing women and children, and passing out wherever they please. This is not just bad luck or bad circumstances adding up, this grown up people making decisions everyday to continue living this way. This is the life these people are resigned to living and I doubt they will change. These people don't want to work, they want to be given things because they have it so hard… Whaaaaa I'm a bum. My life is hard. I can't believe that my skills in drinking tall cans and sh**ing in alleys haven't paid off yet. Give me a break…

  24. “There are also waiting lists, mounds of confusing paperwork to complete and the challenges of transportation and where to put your stuff.”

    Wow, challenges…..just like in real life.

  25. And good on you Farmer Ted – apparently you are intelligent, well-educated, mentally healthy, eat and sleep well, and have loving supportive family, a good lawyer, and an accountant, so mounds of confusing paperwork wouldn't stop or even slow you down. Aren't you special.

  26. In the mid 80's, a New York City TV anchorwoman spent a week on the street living with the homeless. She produced a series of reports on the homeless that were very moving and helped humanize the people that we all walked past every day. It's a shame that this is still a national problem.

    Sure, there will always be a few people who will never be off the streets – heck, I've seen smelly, crazy, street people in Tokyo – but shouldn't we try to help the people who can be helped?

  27. Funny how puritanical pettite bourgeoise resist looking at the degenerating empire and prefer to hate locally scapegoating the xtians,err Jews,err homeless..
    The lesson of history is that Western society does not learn from history.
    Littl things please little minds.
    As the empire devolves Ballard regresses to NIMBY reactionism.
    CIrcle the wagons,raise the drawbridge,stick your head under your wing and sleep the sleep of reason that breeds monsters like (insert bugaboo here) that invoke concensus whilst pursueing nihilist ends!
    When the sleeper wakes all is rubble.

  28. I have lived in ballard for greater than fifteen years, ive raised both my children here and have seen ballard go through many changes. the homeless situation is one thing, what bothers me the most are the pretentious, young urban professionals that have moved here from another city and live in their overpriced condos and have turned ballard into an unrecognizeable, over priced dare i say yuppie hell. There are no places to park anymore and the traffic is horrible. I used to go to shillshole during the summer and now i cant even find a place to park let alone a spot on the beach. forget the homeless, lets get rid of the idiots who sit with their laptop and take up space at the coffee shops

  29. I have been homeless a couple of times in the past three years because I’ve been unable to get a job that paid a living wage.
    I am educated and retired from the State. The problem is that I am NOT a drug user or alcoholic, and I don’t have children. There are no beds in transitional housing for single adult women who are not running from an abusive mate or have children.
    Sure, I could sleep in a shelter, but they kick you out in the morning, and you have to find someplace to spend the day; someplace to use the toilet, access wifi for job hunting, prepare your meals (because you CAN get food stamps), change clothes, shower, etc, etc,etc.
    Because I’ve lived in Ballard for 12 years (and Seattle for 48), I hung out in Ballard. My friends are here and I like the library. Why should I be forced to go downtown because you don’t want me around as a reminder of how close to my situation you are??
    We are not all bums, and I prefer to sleep in my truck, with my things, around my friends and my new job, so I can stay in touch with my neighborhood that I’m hoping to be able to live in again soon, as a regular resident.

  30. Farmer Ted . . . Wow, challenges…..just like in real life.
    Now you’re just trolling. Did you read the post?? I have availed myself of the services I can, but I am capable of dealing with the mountains of paperwork.
    I have been on a waiting list for low income housing for TWO years. I’m not waiting, but I will move into the housing when my name finally comes up. BTW, I qualified for this when I worked for the State, too, but held off hoping costs would not continue to skyrocket.

  31. Maybe there is no “choice” in the matter for a crazy person. Maybe crazy people can’t make choices at all. Including about whether or not to seek shelter or try to quit drugs or get a job. Maybe that narrative just doesn’t run through a crazy person’s head.

  32. We need programs to help this small percentage of the homeless get back
    on their feet. The rest of the homeless are lazy bums that suck
    resources from our society that are better spent on people that
    contribute to society.

  33. I would like to point out NOT all of us living on the streets are drug addicts, fuck ups, bums to lazy to work. I’m stuck in this hellish situation because I was injured on the job, my employer denied I was an employee – I was clocked in on an electronic time card, reported the accident & even filled out an accident report before I EVER got any medical care. My employer tried to get L&I to block every treatment I needed to recover & against my doctor & P/T’s objections got me kicked off L&I – still unable to work in 03/2014. I have been fighting to get my SSDI/SSI benefits ever since. I FINALLY got my state ABD (age, blind, diabled benefits in 02/2017 – I applied in 03/2014)….do you KNOW how little I’m given to live in each month? $197!!! HOW AM I/ANYONE GOING TO RENT A PLACE TO LIVE ON THAT??
    I have 2 large dogs, both rescues, age 12+ yrs & about 3 yrs.Living in this tiny space is hell for us but as they are rescues & very bonded to me, giving them up is NOT an option.

    I have BAs from The Evergreen State College & UW + graduate work at UW but my physical (& thanks to my last employer & L&I) + mental issues that make working nearly impossible.

    I wanted to attempt to restart my independent contractor delivery business but the van I was given has major cooling system issues (& I now have 2nd degree burns on both arms) that would require $300-500 in PARTS. Yes, I’ve worked as a mechanic too.
    That kind of money is IMPOSSIBLE for a disabled person with $197/mo to live on to even dream of coming up with. Want to help me out? This would be my 3rd LLC – I was a Seattle/King County Taxi driver & have run deliveries/route sales for over 13 years in Western Washington. HELP FIX MY CAR, I had work lined up every Sat/Sun but when I overheated on day 1, that got put on hold.

    Or give me a job fit for a 47 yr old still learning how to write & function left handed, because my right is too messed up to use for much can do…while working around doctors appointments, upcoming surgery #2 on my right hand & 8 months in a cast afterwards, P/T for my left leg hit by a car in a crosswalk in 2005, reinjured summer of 2016 – spent 9 1/2 months on A crutch…yes ONE, because I couldn’t grip one with my right hand.

    Please tell me now how I DESERVE to live street parked in an RV. An RV that was beoken into& robbed 4 days after my last surgery on 03/29/2018. Or I deserved to get beaten & robbed ($200 forged check I was forced to deposit & then withdraw the funds) – still suffering severe TMJ from the kick in front of my right ear, where jaw bones meet. Couldn’t call the police to my RV to report it afterwards…..why? Everyone who ASSUMES we are all drugged out losers would have pegged me as one & all thd drug using/dealing losers would have declared open season on a perceived “snitch.” The police DO NOT protect those of us forced to live like this, one parking enforcement officer told me that it was my fault she was orange tagging me 0 “chosing to live this way.” As opposed to living HOW/WHERE on $197/month.
    I came here to Ballard because my Dad worked at Pacific Fishermen, then when I was 5 yrs old started working in Alaska on a fishing/crabbing boat until he retired. I’ve known this area most of my life & felt like it would be like coming home. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Help me change that.

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