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Monday, August 1, 2011

King County's Largest Shelter Provider Will Close Next Week Without Help

Posted by on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Last week, homeless shelters throughout King County received devastating news: The federal government had cut roughly $1.5 million in funds dedicated to emergency food and shelter programs in the county. The sudden cut hit SHARE/WHEEL, King County's largest indoor shelter provider, especially hard. The non-profit announced today that it will be forced to close its 15 indoor shelters next week without an emergency donation of $44,000 dollars.

"A week from now we’ll be out of bus tickets—that’s our biggest budget expenditure," explained a SHARE/WHEEL employee who asked to remain anonymous because they weren't authorized to speak on the matter. "Without tickets, people can’t get to and from our shelters. That means we shut down."

The closures would affect over 500 homeless people in King County who rely on the indoor shelters and two outdoor tent cities that SHARE/WHEEL operates. Apparently, the organization is lobbying the city of Seattle and United Way of King County for emergency funds. Neither group has yet returned calls for comment.


Comments (19) RSS

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Cui Bono 1
Thanks KC Metro for getting rid of the monthly Puget Pass so now our most vulnerable have to scramble for bus tickets just to have a roof over their head for the night.
Posted by Cui Bono on August 1, 2011 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
didn't they ask for this same emergency funding a couple months ago?
Posted by Max Solomon on August 1, 2011 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 4
Wow!! Bush/Obama America really IS the greatest nation on Earth!!!

Posted by Last of the Time Lords on August 1, 2011 at 5:32 PM · Report this

I just rode my bike past a sign that said 3 bedroom house in Maple Valley...$180,000

If you are homeless (like I am technically, since I have been living in an apartment complex that caters to Section 8s for the last 11 years) then you shouldn't live in Seattle or anywhere in Western Washington...the most expensive metro area (per square foot) of almost anywhere in the US.

You should move to an area that offers low cost housing which can easily be afforded by a minimum wage job or by the equivalent amount of assistance.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 1, 2011 at 6:09 PM · Report this
SamClemens 10
But we've got billions (or the State says we do, anyway) for a useless tunnel!
Posted by SamClemens on August 1, 2011 at 6:32 PM · Report this

Cisco in cooler bottles.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM · Report this
Bailo, there's not much point replying to your silly comments, but I will anyway, in case someone who just fell off a turnip truck believes you.

A fulltime minimum wage job means $1,360 a month gross. I doubt if someone would be allowed to buy a house who makes that income. Any house. Nor could you likely rent a house. You'd be lucky to rent a studio apartment and still buy food, etc.

SHARE indeed depends on bus tickets to be able to operate its shelters, because they assure the surrounding neighborhoods that they won't have people walking through the neighborhoods to the shelters, AND because some people who stay in the shelters work and it's pretty hard to get to the shelter from your workplace when you can't take a bus and don't have a car.

And no, I don't work for SHARE, nor am I homeless.
Posted by sarah68 on August 1, 2011 at 9:42 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 17

Washington state minimum wage is $8.67/hour. A full-time minimum wage worker would earn about $1,500 gross. A two-person household would find it difficult, but not necessarily impossible, to afford to buy with those wages.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 1, 2011 at 11:09 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 18
But will the wealthy be OK? After all, that's what really matters. Think about it: if they actually had to do something to take care of themselves, it would be a carnage.

(have I mentioned that the rich should be taxed for being alive?)
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 1, 2011 at 11:09 PM · Report this

Fine. Then move SHARE/WHEEL to a really low cost exurb, buy up a development of low cost houses and then they can walk to their treatment until they're ready to leave and go out on their own.

What's the point of having them ride buses and LINK all night long, sleep on the street and then go to a "health clinic" in a city where they can't afford to be part of society?!

I think that as much as these organizations do good, they are also in part driven to preserve their own jobs for administrators who want to live in Seattle rather than relocating to where the dollars can be spent most effectively.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 1, 2011 at 11:28 PM · Report this
levide 20
@ 17

Buy what? Your line of bullshit?
Posted by levide on August 1, 2011 at 11:58 PM · Report this
@19 - there aren't a whole hell of a lot of jobs out there in the 'low cost exurb'. Your line of reasoning makes no sense. You understand that living in the 'exurb' requires a car, right? Especially if you want to do more than one thing a day?
Posted by jt on August 2, 2011 at 2:46 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 25
Religion is redundant, my dear troll. Aside from the idiot fringe, people are starting to realize that. That's why the clergy are getting so hysterical. After all, there's no sweat like flop sweat, and when you've got no one in the pews but low-income morons and military retirees, it's hard to keep up that lifestyle Jesus supposedly wants for you.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 2, 2011 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 27
Oh yes, the religious are the only people who do anything. That old yarn. Perfect for the sort who take guidance from a 2000 year old collection of fairy tales.

Your self-righteousness is a drag. The real drains on society are the churches who pay no taxes and the clergy, who exist to put on a weekly show where they talk down to people. Talk about your welfare queens, they pretty much set the standard.

But I really think people are starting to get it. That's one of the reasons why Catholic churches are closing at a record pace (along with the fact that young people are too smart to get caught up in that celibacy nonsense, so there's not enough priests and nuns to go around) and Baptist churches keep taking the word "Baptist" out of their titles.

But by all means keep singing your little tune and hitting your tambourine. It's quaint, and it keeps you occupied.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 2, 2011 at 8:32 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 28
Three wars are being fought, the rich are getting richer and paying lower taxes than the support staff in their corporate offices, the tattered "social safety net" is being torn apart more, and some Americans STILL vote for politicians that tell them they will stop the Homos from getting married, the women from having an abortion, and taking away all those nasty environmental "job killing" regulations; instead of funding the weak and elderly, creating jobs to replant the former forests, clean the rivers, and build America up.

Blame the citizens that vote in elected officials that promise a "Moral" America, and yet are turning it into a debtor nation.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on August 2, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 30

Look into Homesight and FHA. You're welcome.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 2, 2011 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Voltairine 33
Uh, basic math means a minimum wage worker working full time is making $1387.20 gross monthly. 40 hours a week, four weeks in a month. For a $180,000 mortgage with no down payment,at 5% interest, the payments are going to be $1159 a month. This is assuming a bank will actually lend to someone with a minimum wage job, no savings, and likely poor credit, which is laughable. If you have dual earners, over 40% of their income is going to the mortgage, and the standard cut-off is 30%.

Don't make up ridiculous fictions where lazy-ass homeless people could be living in three-bedroom homes in the exurbs if they'd just work a minimum wage job. Stick to making claims that aren't so easily disproven.
Posted by Voltairine on August 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM · Report this
A few facts here, but don't let them distract anyone from ranting:

Share/Wheel has no administrators. They have several organizers who make little more than minimum wage.

The Share shelters that will have to be closed if no bus money is found are located in religious congregations. The religious community is one of the biggest providers of help to poor and homeless people in this county. They are providing help that most of you don't want to be taxed for. They are providing help that you would need if you lost your job and your family couldn't support you.

People in Share shelters don't sleep on the street. They sleep in the shelters (that's, you know, the idea of HAVING those shelters). But they will be on the street without the shelters.

And for those who are ranting without having read the article (quite common), a number of other organizations are having money yanked away from them also, because the federal FEMA has decided that King County doesn't have a high enough rate of unemployment to deserve that money. (One of those organizations provides food to poor children; do you rant about those poor kid bums?) That money was counted on by those organizations (including Share) to continue their services. They didn't know it wasn't going to come until they were notified last Friday.

But I'm sure none of you will ever be anything but securely middle-class, with houses in Kent or Bellevue or Seattle, and decent jobs. Good luck. This recession hasn't ended yet.
Posted by sarah68 on August 2, 2011 at 9:18 PM · Report this
Can we get some perspective? I'm confused on a couple of issues in this post.

1) Do you have some statistics on how SHARE/WHEEL is the biggest shelter provider in King County? There are so many HUGE providers in Seattle (DESC, Compass, Union Gospel Mission--just to name a few) and SHARE/WHEEL shelters don't seem to come close to the numbers these shelters serve. UWKC and/or SKCCH must have data on numbers of people served--how many people does SHARE/WHEEL help shelter? What kinds of outcomes do they report--how many people leave the shelters for more permanent housing?

2) I agree that access to transportation is a huge issue for everyone, but I'm just not seeing how bus tickets are the #1 make or break issue for any shelter. In all the years SHARE has used bus ticket shortages to get PR, have they helped the people who depend on their services sign up for other forms of transportation assistance? It's challenging, but not impossible for many very low income/homeless people (especially those with disabilities) to get bus tickets from medical providers and/or to get free or reduced fare permits.
Posted by MJ on August 5, 2011 at 11:16 PM · Report this

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