Pioneer Square Residents' Council | Blog
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BEFORE: AFTER: It looks like some thoughtful person decided to feed the birds right after PSCA and some volunteers finished cleaning up the park (picking up all of the cigarette butts) and adding orange buckets for the Lazarus to use as their ashtrays. ONE WEEK AFTER: So, while it...

The Husband and I were on our way to Costco yesterday, when we drove past the photo (above) Not sure the origins of this, but it's very exciting to see happening in the neighborhood (and to have it be young artists)...

I used to feel like homelessness was a choice for the majority of the people that live on the streets of Seattle. From talking with Daniel, Felix, John, Robert, and Joseph, I’ve learned that there are so many circumstances that can happen to a person that leads them to where they are living on the streets or in the shelters. After spending almost two hours talking and laughing with the first four, I met Joseph (the one who had already announced his love for me). He is currently living on the medical floor of the Union Gospel mission and is not a Seattle native. He told me that he had been hearing for a while how great Seattle was (specifically for being homeless) because there are so many services here, so many handouts, and so many liberal policies regarding homelessness. That’s why we get people from all over the country—it’s “easier” to be homeless in Seattle than in most other cities. New York has pretty harsh laws regarding homelessness, many of them instated with Mayor Guiliani (read this story of a NY homeless man).  On any given night in America, there are about 664,000 people sleeping on the street. Sergeant Paul Gracy (West Precinct Community Police Team) told me that there are 2,247 beds available to homeless in Seattle. In a recent article by Nate, Burg, he stated that “to fight homelessness, some cities provide services, some build housing, and some arrest people. Often it's a combination of the three, but now many critics are calling on officials to de-emphasize the law enforcement element.”

Snowboy Productions and new title sponsor Lib Technologies are proud to bring you the best damn urban rail event in the US of A…yeah dude, we’re talking about the 4th annual Downtown Throwdown…and this one’s gonna to be totally bananas! 20 of the most progressive rail...

I’m the type of person who fast forwards movies when they get too intense, or checks the end of a book to make sure it has a good ending before I go back to reading it. So for any of you out there that are like me, I’ll give you a hint: I made 5 new friends that Thursday in the park, and came away with some very different perspectives from when I started out. You should also know that I’m going to have to break this up into at least 2 posts because I have so much to say about it. Now you can read the rest of my blog post in peace. I mentioned to Philip that there was one guy who had yelled to me as I approached the information booth that he was already falling in love with me – I thought if all else failed, he might be willing to chat. As Philip approached me after walking around for a bit, I felt sure that I was just going to end up reading my book for a while in the square and then going home. But he surprised me by telling me that there was a table of guys that would be willing to let me “get to know them.” (note: not “let me interview them,” but get to know them , which is what I requested this time). I was so nervous, but walked over and sat down with a group of gentlemen seated around the chess tables on the SW corner of O2. They went around and introduced themselves: Daniel, Felix, John, and Robert. And then I tried to explain myself to them without sounding too much like an idiot (pretty sure I didn’t succeed). I had so much that I wanted to learn from them, but no idea where to start, because any question that you have about homelessness seems like a weighted question. One guy in the group, John, was so funny and relaxed that it put me almost immediately at ease. He put it out there by saying “ask us anything you want!” And so I did.
I’ve been waiting for a while to write this post, but feel unsure about many of the things I’m going to write about. As mentioned in our “About Us” page, I had a very easy upbringing. I come from a loving, middle class family, with a dad who is a professor at Penn State, and a professional baker as a mom. They provided us with food, clothing, taught us about life and how to be successful, encouraged us to play sports and to excel academically. College was something we were strongly encouraged to complete (especially with my dad as a professor), and as long as we were willing to study, they were willing to help monetarily. Living in Downtown Seattle has given me a brand new perspective on life and the different ways that people choose to live their own lives. Before moving to P2, I was always outspoken regarding my opinion towards the homeless. I had absolutely no sympathy towards any of them as individuals, and lumped them together as a group that was lazy and chose not to do anything to make their situation better. I begrudged them for asking me for money that I work very hard to make, and couldn’t understand why they would stick around Seattle, where even if they made money, it would be a very expensive place to live. While The Husband understands the homeless situation in Seattle, he feels that nothing should be given for free. Most of the homeless, even those with mental disabilities, have a service they can provide; if they receive a place to stay or food to eat, why can’t they do something to help improve the neighborhood (like pick up trash and cigarette butts left on the streets). As soon as we moved to P2, however, some of my preconceived notions and judgments started to change a little. I started passing them on the street, saying hello, and getting hit on (see previous post “what single guys could learn from the homeless”). In general, the comments were funny, rarely crude, and if I ever needed help carrying something, there was always someone popping up, willing to give me a hand. With all of these thoughts in my head, I headed down to Occidental Square one sunny day to try and “interview” some of the homeless guys down there. I had my camera, my video camera, and a list of questions that I had agonized over. I was so nervous – even though I was determined to be non-judgmental, I was sure that I was going to offend someone.