Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SHARE's troubles

SHARE is having financial troubles again.

From sharewheel.org:
... although we have been working on this to get more funding our efforts have fallen on deaf ears. ...

Unfortunately, we have reached the point when we can no longer AFFORD TO STAY OPEN, literally. To date we have $70K in unpaid bills, our staff has been withholding their salaries, and we don’t have enough bus tickets to last thru the end of the month.

The Central Committee has MSP’d to have the last night be on March 30th, hopefully we’ll have enough bus tickets to last us until then. On March 31st we will be marching to the King County Administration Building Plaza and staying there until such a time that we can negotiate the needed funding in order to reopen our shelters. We hope many of you will join us because this is the only way we will be successful.

We have faced similar crisis in the past and by staying together we have managed to prevail. For over the 25 years we have had many victories through direct action. These we achieved by staying together and UNITED. Our strength is in our numbers. NOW is the time to show our strength as a COMMUNITY.
Further on in their website, they comment on the reason given for refusal of funding by King County:
SHARE has been hobbled with debt the past two years. We’ve still managed to keep people safe and alive. Now though, through funding cuts and general increases in operating costs, we can’t promise we will be able to keep going much longer.We simply can’t function without more stable funding.   In spite of this King County rejected our two funding proposal requests without consideration in late February. In one case, the reason for denial was because “King County does not consider Tent Cities to be shelters.”
Tell a backpacker, "a tent isn't shelter," and he'll laugh at you.
We must demand that King County follow their own emergency plan, and fund SHARE. King County says they follow the “All Home” Plan (to end Homelessness) but they don’t.  That Plan is clear – existing shelters like SHARE’s should be preserved, not bankrupted.
King County is incorrect about tent cities, and a judge in 2002 commented on this. Tents have a long and well-established track record as emergency shelter. They've been around for thousands of years, and they still work.

That's not the real reason, though. That's the "ostensible" reason, and since it's clearly false, there must be another -- unstated -- reason. We know that the Human Services people of both King County and Seattle act as though they utterly despise SHARE.

I agree that tent cities are not a solution to homelessness. They are not. You will not get any staffer at SHARE to agree that tent cities are a solution for homelessness. Tent cities are an interim survival mechanism -- as are all other homeless shelters. That's all they are. And an "interim solution," it seems to me, should be as cheap as possible, on the very grounds that it's not a permanent solution. We should be spending our money on permanent solutions, not on temporary ones, if we can at all avoid it.

Tent cities are one of the cheapest forms of shelter available. Even at $90k a year for 100 people, this is $2.50 per day per person. Tent cities don't have bedbugs (unlike the indoor shelters, which have them in profusion).  Yes, they are minimalist in terms of shelter. But there are reasons why many people use them. See my post on why people refuse shelter.

Tent cities are very visible reminders of homelessness.

And then there's this: if SHARE disappears by going bankrupt, will the Tent Cities disappear?

NO, they will NOT disappear. The tent cities of SHARE can operate without SHARE, and will if they need to.