June 14, 2013
It has been a busy week for SHARE. We would like to take this opportunity to update you with our recent efforts to advocate for change as we continue to stay together and safe.
On Monday, seven members of the Seattle City Council sent a letter to the Mayor telling him that Seattle should not be allowing encampments such as Nickelsville, that it should not be allowed to continue to operate, and should be cleared (aka bulldozed) on September 1st.
This announcement came just before Nick Licata’s Housing and Homelessness Committee was scheduled to discuss the proposed Encampment Ordinance for private and city-owned land on Wednesday, and just days away from the scheduled closure of 225 winter shelter beds on June 15th.
At noon, two hours prior to Nick Licata’s Council meeting, we stood in silent vigil with our friends The Women in Black, for three more homeless people that died outside or by violence in May. That makes 23 so far this year, a very alarming number.
Despite the recent controversy stirred up by the Seattle Times to try and suppress us from speaking out, more than a hundred of us showed up at the meeting to tell our City - This was of our own free will, because homelessness needs to be fought and ended.
Following brief testimony, we all left together and conducted a ‘die in’ on the steps of City Hall. It brought home the point that WITHOUT SHELTER PEOPLE DIE. And that encampments along with more shelters are needed to address the lack of affordable housing and shelter in the city.
The WHEEL led campaign to keep the City’s Winter Shelters was pushed over the top by all this activity – they will be open year round this year!
There is a lot left to do. It is likely that the Encampment Ordinance will come up for a Hearing on June 25th – the discussion in front of Councilman Licata’s Committee made clear that a Pandora’s Box of bad ideas has been opened. Without strong community opposition this Ordinance will just keep getting worse and worse!
Nickelsville will clearly need more support as they struggle to survive.
Please mark on your calendars the morning of July 24th. That is the next meeting of the Governing Board of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. We’ll have plenty to take to them about.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Written by the SHARE Direct Action Work Group; signed and approved by the June 15, 2013 SHARE Power Lunch.
Scroll down for our response to the Seattle Times phony claims, click “Tent City Four Division” for point by point rebuttal to Camp Unity false claims about bus tickets, etc., etc., etc.
June 10, 2013
SHARE is grateful for your continued support, especially in this challenging period of the organization.
As you may be aware we have been the topic of many conversations, blogs and articles, since the Seattle Times published false and unfounded accusations about the SHARE Organization last Monday.
One would ask, Why all this attention? And, Why now?
The answer lies in who would benefit from all of this. Surely, not homeless people – they have the most to lose. SHARE shelters up to 500 homeless people every night. Without SHARE these people would have nowhere else to go.
Three of the people making false allegations this week have much to gain if SHARE is shut down. They – James Gagne, Steve Wiggins and Bill Kirlin-Hacket – are on the Camp Unity Board of Directors. Their malicious behavior has already caused damage to our community.
Their assault on SHARE started last fall. The audits and reviews they caused have produced no material findings. What do they have to gain? What does SHARE have that they don’t? Firstly, a 20 some year track record and good lasting relationships with host churches, supporters and friends who provide meals and much needed donations.
They also lack access to the reduced rate bus tickets program (which SHARE started, by the way). They also lack hosts for their encampment. They are trying to remedy this not by increasing the pool of churches working on ending homelessness, but by poaching our hosts.
“Simple - They are trying to build themselves up by tearing us down!”
To learn the truth read our response to the Seattle Times which follows this letter. To track the history of the efforts of James Gagne, Steve Wiggins and Bill Kirlin-Hacket to tear down SHARE go to ‘Tent City Four Divisions’ on this website.
SHARE is proud of what we have accomplished together as a community in helping the poor and homeless and their struggle to find justice. At the end of the day – we all sleep good at night!
Thanks again for your continued support in our struggle,
Your Friends at SHARE
SEATTLE HOUSING AND RESOURCE EFFORT (SHARE) PUBLIC STATEMENT
4 June 2013
TO: The Seattle Times, and all who are interested in the truth about SHARE
FROM: SHARE Members and Leaders
We are members and leaders of SHARE who are very proud of our work and the ways it’s revived our lives and our dignity and brought us great pride and joy. We’d like to thank you for this opportunity to respond to and correct the article about us published in the Seattle Times on Monday, June 3rd, 2013. We wrote this response as a community, through a democratic process.
MISINFORMATION IN THE SEATTLE TIMES ARTICLE:
Forced Advocacy: The article claims that SHARE participants are forced to do advocacy, and are told they will be barred if they do not participate in SHARE political actions. This is not the case. The SHARE Handbook explicitly states that no one can be forced to do advocacy and no one will lose their shelter if they do not participate in SHARE advocacy opportunities. While it is true that participation is a requirement of SHARE, people are given a wide range of choices on how to participate, and a wide range of activities to fulfill those requirements. Choices include things like Vehicle Maintenance, Grantwriting, cooking for meetings, speaking in classes, attending church services, public meetings, organizational meetings, Site Searching, maintaining our website, and on and on.
Disagreement is suppressed within SHARE and Consultant Scott Morrow is a Scary Character: This is patently false. Disagreement is welcome within SHARE, and lively discussions are a part of our shared culture. Before votes are taken in our democracy, there is lengthy—sometimes too lengthy—discussion with lots of disagreement. Then, a vote is taken, and the decision is binding. Staff and consultants do not get to vote. There is widespread respect within SHARE for Scott Morrow’s history, dedication, and strategic/tactical advice, but he does not and cannot force us to do anything. It’s insulting to us, SHARE members and leaders, to pretend that’s the case.
SHARE Rules are Overly Harsh: It’s true that sobriety, nonviolence, and participation are requirements of SHARE. Beyond that, our rules are less harsh than most staffed, traditional shelters. Our rules are minimal, and are designed to keep shelter communities running effectively and safely, and to keep our promises to our host sites. Everyone is told the rules of their shelter, and of SHARE, during the screening process before they are accepted into a shelter or Tent City. And, as previously mentioned, folks are given a wide variety of ways to fulfill their participation requirement.
Seattle Police Department and FBI are Conducting Investigations of SHARE: We’ve not been told directly of any investigation by the Seattle Police or the FBI. We have been charged with NOTHING. Audits and reviews happen annually as a part of our funding processes. We have had no material findings in these annual reviews. Last fall we responded within 24 hours to King County, whose staff comprehensively reviewed our Bus Tickets Policies and Practices. Their review completely exonerated us of the false claims made against us that prompted their quick review. The City of Seattle also did a “spot review” last fall, which found no improprieties. Our finances are open; we follow standard Accounting Principles, and we have nothing to hide.
MISSED INFORMATION THAT SHOULD’VE BEEN IN THE SEATTLE TIMES ARTICLE:
Choice: Choice is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as an “act or power of choosing.” There is great power in choice, and there is great power in choosing to be part of SHARE. And, there are tons of different ways people can exercise their power of choice within our organization or communities. For instance, participation at Tent Cities can come in the form of security shifts, cleaning, cooking, camp maintenance, and other duties of camp management. People who are not satisfied with SHARE often just don’t use our democracy to their own advantage. SHARE facilitates the biggest network of shelters in the Northwest, and is the only network that offers a complete understanding and practice of participant rights and choices.
Accountabilities: We decide on accountabilities as a community, and through democratic vote can decide on variations or accommodations for individuals. We are not monolithic; we’re a community!
Love and Respect: Many people consider SHARE to be their family. In fact, a photo caption on the Times website connected to its article about SHARE quoted a SHARE Leader who said SHARE saved her life, and is better than family to her. All families disagree, but there is a great mutual respect in our organization and community.
Pride, Dignity and Joy: Where else in Seattle, or anywhere, do homeless people themselves get to set policy, create rules, and run their own shelters or Tent Cities? Every member of a SHARE Shelter or Camp has a voice, and a right to express his/her opinion at meetings. Everyone within SHARE is equal. This gives us back our dignity, which was largely stripped from us when we became homeless. SHARE gives us life, a foundation, and a great sense of purpose.
A WORD ABOUT JOURNALISTIC PROCESS:
Why all the negative quotes and why no mention of reporter visits to indoor SHARE shelters? There’s a great disparity between the people quoted within the Times article, some whom were disenfranchised or disgruntled former SHARE members, and by those currently sheltered in the SHARE community. This misrepresents the actual processes within our community and what happens in SHARE shelters and our community as a whole. The Times reporter made visits to two of our indoor shelters, Maple Leaf and the Bunkhouse. Several shelter participants there shared positive experiences concerning SHARE and our Consultant. Why were these not mentioned in your article?
Why do the pictures in your article-accompanying photo gallery show a positive picture, but this is not reflected in the print version? It surprises us that the Times photo gallery of SHARE community pictures didn’t match the printed text. The photo gallery actually does capture what SHARE is about, by demonstrating the full breadth of life, pride and joy within the SHARE community.
Why did the Times publish false accusations about criminal conduct when we have not been charged with anything, or even notified of any current investigation? No reputable media outlet would name an individual who’s not been charged with a crime; why did you do it to an organization of poor people? It’s like judging us without a trial.
Why didn’t you capture any of what’s good, right, and positive about people rising up, running their own shelters, making their own decisions, and making a difference in the community? Why so negative, Seattle Times? Because so little of what we actually said to you is represented in the paper, it almost sounds like your article was pre-written and its editorial slant pre-determined.
Have free morning coffee with Consultant Morrow! He’s not scary one bit, and passes out coffee at Victor Steinbrueck Park, north of Pike Place Market, from 6:30 to 7:30 AM every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday!
Ask to visit our Shelters or Tent Cities! Take a meal with us, or spend the night! We’d be glad to give you a tour, and talk to you ourselves!
Our SHARE Handbook is available for all to see! Ask for a copy!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
P.O. Box 2548
Seattle, WA 98111-2548
SIGNED BY: Rock LaFrance, JC Morris, DA Simeon, Rob Low, Hubert “Buzz” Chevara, Angelica Estrella, Luke Bohlander, Tannika Crease, Elizabeth Iverson, Isaac Pace, Anitra Freeman, Gregor Talbot, James Lucas, Jarvis Capucion, Mark Valenzuela (SHARE Participants)