October 7, 1999
Food Not Bombs - Seattle
Seattle Displacement Coalition
Community Action Network
Nonviolent Action Committee of Cascadia Operation Homestead
Seattle-King County Coalition for the Homeless
C/O Food Not Bombs
PO Box 45523
Seattle, WA 98145
Thank you for letting me know of your concerns about the potential impact of the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference on homeless and low income people in our community.
First, let me assure you that there will be no "sweeps" of any residents of our community including homeless people, during the WTO Conference or at any other time while I am Mayor. We will continue to enforce the laws fairly and equally for all persons in our community. Our Police Department leadership is available to work directly with communities to help meet this standard.
A member of my staff and a representative of the Seattle Police Department will be attending the October meeting of the Seattle-King County Coalition for the Homeless to discuss the WTO Conference. West Precinct Commander Jim Pugel or someone from his staff will also be meeting with the Coalition.
I support the network of shelters that SHARE and WHEEL currently manage, as well as the many other service and housing providers who work daily to help homeless people find shelter and move from shelter to permanent housing. My staff is happy to meet with representatives of SHARE and WHEEL to discuss their proposal for expanded shelter during the WTO Conference. I do not support tents as a long-term solution to homelessness. I am glad to discuss with SHARE and WHEEL ways we can better educate tbe broader community about homelessness and their ideas for developing lasting shelter and housing
I support the vigorous collaborative efforts between nonprofit organizations like SHARE and WHEEL, the business community, United Way, and local government to expand housing, including shelter when necessary, for homeless people. I am proud of the community collaboration that led to the creation of projects like the Compass Center's Hammond House for homeless women and I hope we have new opportunities to build on these successes.
Human Services Department staff have been talking to some of our community's shelter voucher providers to learn more about the potential impacts of WTO-related demands on our area hotels and motels. We will work to implement community suggestions on ways to help providers secure rooms to maintain our current level of support for homeless persons during the conference.
As Seattle's Mayor; I look forward to hosting the WTO Conference in an atmosphere that reflects our commitment to human rights, individual expression, and our concern for the wall-being residents and visitors alike. I look forwad to continuing to work with you to achieve realistic solutions to homelessness and the underlying causes of poverty that lead to homelessness in our community.
Very truly yours,
cc: Captain Jim Pugel, Seattle Police Department
Venerria Knox, Director, Human Services Department Alan Painter, Human Services Department