I recently wrote about a woman who was holding a sign for cash on one of the exit ramps. But the reality in Seattle is that it is no joke. There are two tent cities and 16 homeless shelters, which house approximately 500 homeless shelters in Seattle. The facilities are now temporarily closed because representatives of the homeless are demanding free bus passes for the homeless.
At issue is the closing of the free-ride area in downtown Seattle, which has long been a staple of the Seattle Metro system. The city of Seattle is claiming that the change in the free ride area will generate $500,000 revenue for the city. Representatives of the homeless are stating that the decision to end the ride free zone is extremely punishing to the homeless people in the city of Seattle.
SHARE, the organization representing the homeless, has said that by closing the shelters now while the temperatures are mild, the group will then have the ability to allocate the money for bus tickets instead.
SHARE’s decision to close the shelters is controversial, even with the residents of the shelter. Some are saying that it might be easier to get bus tickets than it would be to get alternate housing. Many of the shelters are at churches who agree to let the homeless stay on their premises if they are not there during the daytime.
In response, King County has reminded its residents about the King County Metro Transit Incentive system, which allows residents with cars to donate free tickets to community organizations who can then re-distribute them to people who are in need. Thus far, 95,000 free bus passes have been donated to community organizations in need in King County.
According to this:
King County is awarding subsidized bus ticket funding to the following agencies: Catholic Community Services, Child Care Resources, Compass Housing Alliance Renton/Shoreline, Eastside Winter Shelter, Heroes for the Homeless, St. Stephen Housing Association, Seattle Drug and Narcotic Center (Seadrunar), Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE), Sophia Way - Sophia’s Place, and Youthcare. Additional tickets will be awarded to agencies by the City of Seattle.
The King County Metro Transit Incentive system was instituted in advance of the end of the ride free zone in downtown Seattle and might help alleviate the needs of the homeless who are in need of bus passes to get downtown to apply for jobs.
According to the Seattle Times, the SHARE organization is required to keep the shelters open based on a contract with the Seattle of city for which it earned $400,000.