60 minutes homeless crisis ideas for Seattle

64 Replies

Originally posted by @Mary Mitchell :
Originally posted by @Dennis M.:

@Mary Mitchell

Hey Mary how many homeless (that you pretend to care about )have you personally taken in to your investment properties and gave free housing to end their unfortunate plight ?

.. that’s what I thought ,now shut your fat yap .

not sure whats up with your attitude towards me....  (or is it women in general?)  but your comment is not really adding value (altho maybe you get likes for them so that is why you do it??)

as for the topic at hand..... actually my family and I have helped people....  I mentioned one of them in my post.there were others.....  

Ok that was a bit harsh I shouldn’t have said your yap is fat . I helped several women that I took in that had been abused . I have also taken in recovering drug addicts and drunks in my apartments. Folks overlooked by most landlords . My point is it is not our responsibility to cure the ills of society . It is certainly not caused by landlords it is caused by one word that no one wants to take about and that secret word is ...... laziness 

 

it will be interesting to see if  the removal of single Family Dwelling zoning in Oregon will have any affect on the number of affordable units going up.   Essentially any lot zoned Residential can now have, I believe up to 3 units on it.....   I dont know if along with that if they are loosening permit restrictions and or speeding up the process/making it more affordable.  

I just bought a nice bungalow with a nice big basement and a large yard....   I will be attempting to maximize that space so it will be interesting to see how it goes.....

@Dennis M.   its not laziness. Its sickness.  While there are lazy people, the folks I have known gutted by addiction or mental illness are not lazy.....  they are warped and live in a different reality where getting the next fix is all that matters.....   the sad thing is there is medication that can help so many of these people at the very least kick the drugs....  that is the first step.... 

I also know folks who have been in the pit of addiction and managed to come back up alive and productive members of society....  so it is possible.... 

and there are lots of reasons people become homeless.....   so i assume there would need to be lots of avenues to help those that want it.

oh, and no, it is not our responsibility as landlords to cure the ills of society....  it is our responsibility as humans and members of our cities/states/nations and ultimately species.....

Homelessness is a a HUGE problem that is touching every town in America. CA is hardest his due to the beautiful weather in the southern part of the state and abundance of social programs. However; much of the problems on homelessness are in progressive states where regulations on the environment, etc. have created extreme standards that are costly to implement, permit fees that are through the roof, taxes on anything that can possibly be taxed, including gas and diesel, which push the price of all materials and labor used on building housing through the roof. 

Add to that zoning that restricts density in many area, parking requirements, etc. and it pushes the costs of land up so high that there's no way you can affordably build in those areas. 

The population hubs are too far for people to travel to if they live in more affordable areas. CA has an abundance of vacant land, but no way for people to easily and quickly commute. If there were efficient trains that connected areas it would make a huge difference. 

There actually are a huge number of mentally ill on the streets. Many self medicate and are addicts. We also have a huge number of criminals that are addicts on our streets. 

Rather than looking at this as one BIG PROBLEM, it needs to be broken down and dealt with in segments. There's a part for real estate investors, and government to play. Unfortunately, government usually makes things worse, pushing prices up higher, not lower, but with zoning could do wonders.  

In answer to the original post, @Matt Higgins yes, real estate investors can play a part. They could relax criteria on credit scores and wanting 3x income, allowing more people that are the working poor to get into housing. There are a lot of really good people that just can't meet those guidelines. 

Originally posted by @Mary Mitchell :

@Dennis M.  its not laziness. Its sickness.  While there are lazy people, the folks I have known gutted by addiction or mental illness are not lazy.....  they are warped and live in a different reality where getting the next fix is all that matters.....   the sad thing is there is medication that can help so many of these people at the very least kick the drugs....  that is the first step.... 

I also know folks who have been in the pit of addiction and managed to come back up alive and productive members of society....  so it is possible.... 

and there are lots of reasons people become homeless.....   so i assume there would need to be lots of avenues to help those that want it. 

That is your opinion and your entitled  to that but  that is false in my experience . I have Known many drug addicts and drunks over the years . I can honestly say I never met a motivated hard working drug addict ! It’s an entitlement and laziness problem . Why buy the cow when the milk is free. ? Why work when you get an eBt card with free money on it ? 

 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

In answer to the original post, @Matt Higgins yes, real estate investors can play a part. They could relax criteria on credit scores and wanting 3x income, allowing more people that are the working poor to get into housing. There are a lot of really good people that just can't meet those guidelines. 

There is a major flaw to your logic. You're assuming that rental criteria is keeping people out of homes. If instead of me wanting a 700 credit score and 3X income, if I only changed that to a 500 credit score and 2X income, then some vulnerable person would have a home. Wrong! The key component that you are ignoring is supply. Speaking of the major cities in CA (which have major homeless populations), there is extremely little vacancy. Current vacancy levels are well below historical levels and much of that vacancy is high cost homes and vacation homes that were never going to be in the rental pool.

There is no shortage of highly qualified applicants to rent the existing pool of units. Rental units aren't sitting empty while landlords are searching for a qualified tenant. They are being rented extremely quickly and landlords are able to pick from multiple qualified tenants. If landlords lowered their criteria, there would suddenly be more demand, but there would be no more supply.

Current way:
I have a 100 unit building and I require 700 credit score and 3X income. In the current marketplace I'll have 500 candidates that qualify. I'll pick the top 100 candidates.

Your proposed way with looser requirements:
I have a 100 unit building but only require a 500 credit score and 2X income. In the current marketplace I'll have 2500 candidates that qualify. I'll pick the top 100 candidates.

The top 100 candidates are the exact same in both groups.
The only way that wouldn't happen is if I intentionally picked lesser qualified candidates over higher qualified candidates. That would make no business sense at all since I'm receiving the same amount of money. Outside of charity, why would I accept more risk for the same return?

And assuming that a bunch of landlords suddenly felt charitable and picked the lesser qualified candidates, that would just put upward price pressure on the remaining units in the marketplace. That price pressure would trickle down to these units, pricing the charity-receiving tenants out.

Well, this small landlord tried to do something . . . 

I have an older (70+) relative who lives in a van (that I helped him buy) with his 2 dogs. He stays in mobile home parks, truck stops, parks, out in the desert . . . As someone said, he has a story. He's dealt with a lot of bad stuff in life, and has many issues stemming from his service in the Navy in the Vietnam war. He has a bad heart and several other medical problems. No drug use, but not really mentally stable.

So my sister talked him into moving near us. We took him house hunting, and found a fixer that we could buy and rent to him for $200/month, which was well within his budget, and would cover most of our costs. He talked about being excited about being able to tinker with fixing it up, as it would give him something to do. 

This was a cash deal, and closing was set for 10 days from offer acceptance. There were some plumbing issues that needed to be fixed before he could move in, but nothing major. We had a rental that was going to be vacant for 2 weeks, so we let him stay there.

The day before closing he disappeared and stopped answering his phone. He has issues, and does that occasionally, so we went ahead with our plans, closed on the house, and fixed the pipes. We cleaned the house and made it livable, turned on the utilities.

He never came back.

Changed his cell # and no one in the family heard from him for well over a year. I knew he was still alive and kicking because every month he sent me his van payment, but no note, no return address, nothing.

This is family. You do things for family that you won't do for a stranger. I feel no obligation whatsoever to provide housing to strangers who will quite likely act in a similar or worse fashion.

@Greg M.   First off, the opriginal post was in  regard to addressing homelessness and housing. My post was in trying to think of ways to help those on the streets get into permanent housing and the hurdles that they face.  I know there are people sleeping in their cars while holding down full time jobs, and there has to be a way out. Anyone that has that much heart and determination to care for themselves and their families should be able to get into housing.  Often times people in those situations in higher priced areas must share housing, but if nobody has the credit score to rent a place, what do they do?  

The homeless aren't all the same, and many have mental health issues. Unfortunately in America we have such a stigma about mental health, rather than viewing it as brain disease and treating the brain as any other organ. Why is it that you can get treatment for a liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, but should that organ called the brain be diseased, it's a figment of someones imagination, an embarassment, and there's no help other than drugging patients up and making it impossible for them to function? 

There's also the criminal element on the streets comprising every type of criminal there is, but here in CA we have degraded crime and basically nothing is against the law anymore, the prison doors have been opened, and it's impossible to be imprisoned. 

There are no easy answers. CA is a ****show! Literally

@Greg M. Let’s be honest. The people you are referring to with these failed policy’s aren’t looking for solutions. They are trying to feel good about themselves, gain social credit, and give their lives meaning.

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave :

@Greg M.   First off, the opriginal post was in  regard to addressing homelessness and housing. My post was in trying to think of ways to help those on the streets get into permanent housing and the hurdles that they face.  I know there are people sleeping in their cars while holding down full time jobs, and there has to be a way out. Anyone that has that much heart and determination to care for themselves and their families should be able to get into housing.  Often times people in those situations in higher priced areas must share housing, but if nobody has the credit score to rent a place, what do they do?  

The homeless aren't all the same, and many have mental health issues. Unfortunately in America we have such a stigma about mental health, rather than viewing it as brain disease and treating the brain as any other organ. Why is it that you can get treatment for a liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, but should that organ called the brain be diseased, it's a figment of someones imagination, an embarassment, and there's no help other than drugging patients up and making it impossible for them to function? 

There's also the criminal element on the streets comprising every type of criminal there is, but here in CA we have degraded crime and basically nothing is against the law anymore, the prison doors have been opened, and it's impossible to be imprisoned. 

There are no easy answers. CA is a ****show! Literally



Your Comment: "Often times people in those situations in higher priced areas"

It's a choice. They could move to a less expensive place. I have no patience for people who insist I pay for their poor choices. I don't fault them for bad decisions, but I do require they carry their own weight. No one dictates to them where to live in this country and there are a LOT of less expensive places to live and work. This is the greatest economy we've had in years and if they can't make it in today's economy, heaven help them when it all turns into recession.  (Also, save for the future, what you see today is just the top of the cycle)

@Mike M. Let me clarify. I have no sympathy whatsoever for the people that choose to be homeless so they can live on the public dole, and do drugs. I also have no sympathy whatsoever for drug addicts that are doing their drugs in the open, leaving their dirty syringes on our sidewalks and in our parks, and commiting crimes to feed their habit. they should be in jail. Unfortunately, in CA people can walk into a store, walk out with under $1000 worth of merchandise and the cops don't even come. People can commit all kinds of violent crimes, and nothing happens. Car stolen? It's a civil matter, deal with it. We are now a lawless society in CA. 

However; in regard to affordable housing, my sympathies go to the working poor. It's not all about choices. People live in the more expensive areas, because that's where the jobs are. People in those expensive areas depend on service workers, tradespeople, etc. to be able to run their businesses. If every lower wage worker had to move to a more affordable area, what would happen to the economies of the higher end areas? That's why you see these big companies starting to put huge sums into affordable housing. There has to be a balance. 

There need to be incentives for developers to build more affordable housing. Why doesn't the state donate all of its surplus properties, as well as counties and cities to developers that can deliver the highest number of units for the lowest cost? Hopefully the new ADU regulations that start the beginning of the year will help create a huge number of affordable units throughout CA quickly. That''s the intent.

Until we get some common sense into lawmakers where they begin to grasp the true impact their policies are having on the average worker, there will be no turning this around. Until the celebrities that fly around in their private jets, are chauffeured around in their limousines, water their expansive yards of their mansions stop with their foolish lobbying of their fans to pass policies that have NO EFFECT on the celebrities but is carried on the backs of the working class, nothing will change. Poeple have to stop buying into the lie that we need all of these regulations. We don't! 

When I was younger we didn’t have much but I did get a few opportunities to visit some major cities for a day  trip  . I can remember marveling at the bums on the Park benches as a kid .It would be winter time in the early 1980’s and they would be Bundled /wrapped up and just laying around while people would offer them stuff as they passed by .

I can still remember asking my mother why would they willingly choose to live in freezing cold climates and suffer through the cold months when you can be a hobo anywhere in the country so Why not go south and be broke there  instead to have an easier life ?

It was not until later in life I discovered the true reasoning behind this situation . In rural areas you don’t have nearly as many people willing to pay you and rural  people make much less so they give less .there are far more sympathetic bleeding hearts in big cities as well . You see They don’t truly want a hand up they want a hand out ! Some do want to improve their lives I imagine but the vast majority don’t . I feel bad for the children who don’t have the choice and are forced to tag along . 

We are in the richest country in the world with the best economy the most opportunity the highest incomes the greatest chance for advancement with lending at its cheapest rates . Man has looked forward to this time and place in history for the last 6,000 years and you got able bodied healthy adults standing in the street corners with a cardboard sign and a cigarette in their mouths begging for cash .its sickening 

The homeless, renters and the poor get help on the taxpayers dime but if the working person loses their job and can't make their mortgage they are on the street & nobody helps them.  They humbly pack up, move and have no support.  Nobody rallies behind them demanding that they stay and not be displaced.  Those working people are the unsung folks that should be getting Temporary help but that's not gonna happen. 

The homeless chooses to be homeless because they don't want help and rather live on the street then in the shelter because they have mental issues.  There are so many programs to help the homeless, addicts, etc... but its up to them to get help.  Look, there are well bodied capable people that collect welfare as a career. So, yeah there is help for everyone except the law abiding working person that will be thrown out in the street if they lose their job.  

@Anthony Rosa I have to believe the hard working person who loses their job, 2 kids, somewhat checkered past, and has no savings (34% of america) is at risk of being homeless in Seattle. Only 17% of Americans have 10k in savings. I’m sure it’s not always as easy as picking up and moving to Toledo because the cost of living is cheaper. You have to have the money to move your belongings, 1st month rent + deposit, check w your last landlord to make sure you didn’t break your lease after you lost your job, and you don’t have have any late cell phone bills.

Intellectual & financial superiority is something that most on this post clearly possess over the masses, but if the rich get too rich and the poor get too poor we will have a new set of problems

How exactly is a family or an elderly person, who literally live pay check to pay check or SS check by SS check  (you know all those folks that work in the fields, clean bldgs, work in the meat factories, etc etc) move when their apt gets bought out and they are evicted or have their rent doubled - they may well end up on the street -and this is how so many end up homeless. Heck, even people that make 100k/yr are priced out in some areas of CA and they live in their CAR to be close enough to work. 

I think people are clumping all homeless into one pile.... and that is not helpful.... 

What we will see, due to the above scenarios playing out - is rent control spreading across the country - and rent control is not good policy however it is one of several policies that get implemented - other policies like once someone is in a dwelling for a year they can not be no fault evicted, etc.... this hurts the small mom and pop landlords the most as new buildings are exempt. 

So my point is - unless we as LLs decide to self regulate and show some restraint when booting people and or doing massive rent increases, we all will suffer. 

Housing costs can only be reduced by relaxing zoning, building, population density et.al. standards.  Would you vote for that?  

Politicians are out of touch. In LA they just spent 527k per unit for a new apt building built for homeless. This is absurd.  At the sametime you can live in your RV on the LA street legally but you can not live in your RV on 10 acres you own in the same LA County. I am not expecting any improvements. Sorry, I have nothing positive to add, just critical observations. 

All of this misses the point.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding of math.    This is not a crisis, this is a normal bell curve distribution.  

There are approximately 550,000 homeless (un-sheltered) people living in the United States on any given day. The US population is ~330 million.   That is a ratio of 0.17%.    Sort the link below by homeless ratio.  That is less per capita than France, Germany, UK or Sweden.   

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homeless_population

The USA successfully shelters 99.8% of the population.   I simply argue that 100% is not an attainable goal, given the restrictions.   And those restrictions are not money

-  The US Constitution gives people the right to not be imprisoned or forced to do anything against their will because they are mentally ill as long as they are not a danger to themselves or others.   

-  Similarly, no citizen can be forced to seek treatment for drugs or alcohol against their will.   While they can be arrested and imprisoned, they can not be forced to "get better".  The state can not choose "what is good for you" they can only punish.  

- Some small portion of the population prefers to live un-encumbered from the rules and procedures of everyday life or believes that stable housing is not worth the cost.  

Those are all very small populations, but we are talking about a small problem only affecting 0.17%.   Simply put, if you are going to allow for the freedom that the US Constitution gives, you have to accept that some portion of the population will use that freedom to live in a manner that prevents them from being sheltered, either voluntarily or as a result of decisions freely made. 

The press can magnify the problem with a lot of stories, but in the end, this is just a math issue.   There will always be a bottom of the bell curve and that can not be avoided.  

It has been our experience that EVERY SINGLE TIME we have rented to anyone coming out of a homeless shelter, or with the assistance of a housing support agency, other than straight Section 8, we've had to evict them before even the first year is up, often before 6 months are up.  There is a reason why they became homeless.  They don't see paying rent as a priority, even when it is heavily subsidized.  They behave in a menacing manner towards their neighbors and towards the landlord.  Essentially, it is impossible to house them.  And these are people without obvious substance abuse or mental health issues.

As for those with substance abuse and mental health issues, as a society we should offer them help.  But that doesn't mean that they need to live in our most expensive cities.  They should be moved to cities where the cost of living is low, and housed in scattered SRO type dwellings, within walking distance of supermarkets and health care, with social services in place.  But that's not where they want to live.  They want to live on the streets, so that their SSI check can go to alcohol and drugs, and panhandle for more money for alcohol and drugs.

This is one of my favorite subjects. I come from a family filled with addiction. My brother was a homeless gang member in Portland before being deported to Mexico. I damn near lost everything I worked for in the 08 recession, to the point where I was running a chainsaw on a forestry crew while my pregnant wife waited for foreclosure notices to show up on our door.

While desperately trying to dig ourselves out of the hole WE DUG OURSELVES INTO, my brother and mom would constantly reach out for financial help. Being the ignorant person I was, I always found a way to give something, no matter how dire my own situation was. Years later I learned that damn near all the money I sent to "help those in need" was spent on methamphetamine. My brother explained that even though he was homeless, churches and shelters provided everything he needed to live a comfortable life, by his standards. This left him to pursue income for the sole purpose of feeding his addiction. Talk about a warm fuzzy feeling about my sacrifice to help those in need, lol! I have worked in shelters and it saddens me to watch the volunteers put themselves out thinking they are making a positive impact on the problem. I have come to realize that most of the help given to those who do not wish to change their situation .or behavior is nothing more enabling. There is a very small percentage of homeless that truly wish to better themselves and have just fallen on hard times and thanks to the greed and selfishness of many, most can't get the help they deserve. Life has a funny way of holding us all accountable for our actions.

The poor choices of people and lack of ownership of those choices really hits a nerve with me.

@John Nachtigall You are correct. So then the question is, since the majority of the homeless are ending up in CA, and CA is having to carry the burden, maybe the politicians should find a way to assess the home states of the homeless that are coming here for aid. Unfortunately then, it brings into play those comng to America illegally and getting payment from various programs, etc. 

Truthfully, this is a problem that will probably never be solved, and will only grow worse, as there are no good answers. 

Salt Lake City made a HUGE push to house the homeless.... and only rapidly attracted many more homeless.  The downtown area of the city is flooded with homeless addicts, panhandling, breaking into cars, ruining the city for its responsible, tax-paying inhabitants.  

Originally posted by @Alex G. :

Housing costs can only be reduced by relaxing zoning, building, population density et.al. standards.  Would you vote for that?  

 In Oregon there no longer is single family zoning in areas with more than 10k population. More is in rhe works. I understand more states will follow. 

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