City needs better plan, better place | Letter to the editor

Posted 9/8/21

Low-income housing should be spread throughout Port Townsend not concentrated in one neighborhood.

Putting a transitional encampment for homeless people on 10th and Rosecrans is a huge step toward …

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City needs better plan, better place | Letter to the editor

Posted

Low-income housing should be spread throughout Port Townsend not concentrated in one neighborhood.

Putting a transitional encampment for homeless people on 10th and Rosecrans is a huge step toward ghettoizing an area that already has the densest population, most low-income residents, and most seniors of any neighborhood in Port Townsend. The encampment would negatively impact this neighborhood more than any other in PT.

There has been an objection to calling the proposed Pat’s Place a homeless encampment but that is literally what it would be. Encampment is defined as temporary accommodations consisting of huts or tents. These will be tiny wooden huts without toilets or running water with occupation limited to 90 days per person. COVID vaccination, drug and alcohol testing are not required. 

It is unclear whether promised security will be 24/7, professional or volunteer. In any case, security will be limited to the site not the neighborhood.

A homeless encampment will attract more homeless to the adjacent woods where it is already unsafe to walk. It will soon be unsafe for seniors to walk their dogs on the street, walk to the bus stop or walk to the grocery store. Crime will increase.

Hut occupants will be required to have an income but that does not mean a job. SSI and SSDI are awarded for mental health and substance abuse disabilities as well as for regular physical disabilities.

Ninety days for a homeless person to get on their feet and find permanent housing is a naive fantasy. If permanent housing existed, there would be no need for Pat’s Place. 

What happens when 90 days are up and they have no permanent housing? Will they move into the woods adjacent to the encampment? You can bet they will.

The city should reject this proposal and look for a better plan in a better location.

Rick Hitchens
PORT TOWNSEND

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