Posts Tagged ‘homelessness’

GAU and ADATSA Cuts

I suppose the announcement of Gregoire’s budget cuts and the elimination of GAU and ADATSA happened a little while ago, but why can’t I find any news on it?

After a little bit of Googling, I came up with this article from the News Tribune blog.

“The governor’s budget office says the state can save nearly $415 million over the next two years by making such a move, although Gregoire would boost spending on homeless shelters by $20 million and for community health clinics by $40 million to offset some of the impacts of ending the two assistance programs.”

Gregoire has everything mixed up. Cutting GAU and ADATSA and moving funding to shelters and health clinics does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the problem of chemical dependency rates and homelessness within our city. Without these two programs or Drug Court (which has the potential to be cut in June), hundreds of addicts will remain active on the streets committing crimes, in shelters taking up space, in hospitals racking up bills, in jails costing state money, and unfortuantely, dying a drug or alchohol induced death. Contrast that with the success rate of ADATSA and drug court of transitioning addicts to healthy members of society who then get jobs, buy houses, start businesses, and spend money. Not only is enabling the recovery of addicts good for economy, it’s also saving the lives of countless of otherwise hopeless individuals whose only chance to escape from their disease is to be forced by our legal system

House Speaker Frank Chopp (despite his lack of rational viaduct planning) still has the ability to empathize.

“We’re looking to make some changes (to GAU) in a logical way . . . otherwise some people could die.”

Budget cuts leading to death may seem slightly dramatic, but it is in no way unrealistic. Chemical dependency is a life-threatening disease, leading to death and undoubtedly the destruction of one’s livelihood.

It’s even more frustrating that I could barely find an article on the topic.

Nickelsville moves to U-District


Need Housing? courtesy of Wesa [flickr] via our group pool [#]

Nickelsville, the tent city made up of homeless people, moved once more over the weekend to a parking lot owned by University Christian Church in the U-District, where residents hope they’ll be able to remain until year’s end.

Inside the encampment, residents, advocates and organizers gather and scatter, taking care of various tasks. Each resident has to contribute to the running of the camp, doing chores or working a security detail, according to one resident, Kailli.

“All people need is a chance… it makes a difference feeling like you’re part of something,” explained Aaron Colyer, a resident and unofficial spokesman for Nickelsville residents. Colyer himself was busy sorting food donations, cooking, and stabilizing the pavilion being used as a kitchen by the residents as he spoke about the programs offered at Nickelsville. Every Monday night, the residents have a Bible study, and organizers are working on setting up an AA meeting specifically for Nickelsville residents.

Some social service programs have come on site to offer assistance, something Colyer says seems like a wise idea- he believes it would save the city time and money by not sending the homeless to services located in different areas of the city, but instead bringing the services to a large group of homeless. Nickelsville had only 42 residents earlier this month, and is now up to 65. Colyer believes they will hit 100 in their current location, and he would prefer it if they could set up a permanent encampment large enough for 1,000.

Currently over 2,600 people sleep on the streets every night, according to figures from the One Night Count. Those numbers are up 15 percent from last year, and are unlikely to get smaller given the current economic situation. Many shelters only allow men or women, and there are very few shelters that allow families to stay together. Even when those shelters are found, Colyer says, many families will only stay for a few nights, rather than dealing with Child Protective Services. Additionally, the hours some shelters keep disallow residents from getting night-shift jobs.

The camp can still use tents, wooden pallets to put the tents on top of to keep the rain from soaking underneath them, blankets, clothing- particularly men’s clothing, sleeping bags and food donations are always accepted. Colyer said Big Five, the sporting goods store in the U-District would give a discount to those purchasing items for Nickelsville, but that has not been made official yet, so potential buyers may want to verify that information.

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