May 23, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Da Nerve! Seattle Deports Homeless To Kansas

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The famously compassionate City of Seattle, Washington, the home of Starbucks and the $15 minimum wage, has been trying for years to figure out “the right mix of compassion and enforcement” in dealing with its homeless population.

For a while, city officials allowed the homeless to camp in city parks, and that idea only spawned more homelessness. Then they proposed to allow “car campers” to live in their vehicles wherever they wanted free of impounding or even tickets. That idea proved wildly unpopular in any neighborhood where the car campers showed up.

At some point city leaders decided the most compassionate strategy was to deport the homeless. The Wichita Eagle tells the story of one homeless couple, Melissa and Shamrock, that the city actually paid to leave town. After rejecting Seattle’s offer of a homeless shelter, the duo accepted the city’s gift of free plane tickets to Manhattan, Kansas.

Melissa and Shamrock had proved to be something of a nuisance. They had been living in a city park until the city decided that allowing the homeless to camp in parks was not such a swell idea. As a form of protest, Melissa and Shamrock took up residence at a site only about a block from Seattle’s most prominent tourist attraction, the Space Needle.

The couple’s homeless mansion tested the compassion of Seattle.

Testing the city’s self-image, they set up a “homeless mansion,” complete with glass french doors and indoor furniture. “We’re staking a claim. We’re refusing to cower in our tents,” Melissa told a local TV station. “If you can live on the street and not pay rent, then why would you pay rent?”

Seattle is not the only city in the deportation business. Rival progressive jurisdictions like San Francisco and New York have been dispatching their homeless to the hinterlands for years. The homeless are alleged to have family or a job waiting for them at their new destination, but one does not imagine these cities spend much time or energy confirming the connection.

Melissa and Shamrock rejected shelters in Seattle not wanting to change their lifestyle “to fit their requirements.” It is unlikely they will change their lifestyle in Kansas, but at least they will be out of the hair of the ever compassionate Seattle.



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