At the time of writing this, Seattle is experiencing heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 39 miles per hour. The windchill factor makes the November air feel like 39°F. In the midst of this, 4,000 Seattleites make the streets their homes, unsheltered in a storm most of us will only experience as a crummy commute or an interruption in cable service.
City Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kirsten Harris-Talley, following the lead of the Transit Riders Union-led Housing For All coalition, of which Seattle DSA is member, have proposed the Housing, Outreach, and Mass-Entry Shelter (HOMES) tax, where Seattle businesses with revenues in excess of $5 million per year would pay 4.8 cents per hour per employee, or, what amounts to the sum of $100 per year per employee. Seattle could raise over $20 million new dollars which would go a long way toward a meaningful emergency response from a city that has made headlines declaring an emergency without ever acting like there’s been one.
Not so fast, says a letter sent to Seattle City Council, signed by 91 local business owners. “We need a compassionate and effective approach to solving homelessness,” reads the letter, making one wonder for whom the compassion’s being petitioned.