Close Whittier Heights Encampment
Dear Mayor Durkan,
As you know, The Whittier Heights Tiny Village, allowing open drug usage at the 8300 block of 15th Avenue NW in Ballard, has been operating in our neighborhood since July of 2018. It is operated by LIHI (Low Income Housing Institute), and they have amassed quite a public land grab and massive tax payer revenue since its inception. They have done very little to get vulnerable residents back on their feet, and instead are keeping these women oppressed, dependent on drugs and alcohol, and unable to move forward and create new lives for themselves and their families. All women deserve better in 2019.
LIHI has been less than transparent about their success rates, and when pushed, numbers magically improve. What they have done well, however, is accumulate massive amount of assets during this crisis. 2017 nor 2018 have yet to be publicly filed which should be of major note and created a state of infighting over the power and resources allotted to them, all of which do nothing to improve the lives of those they are supposed to be serving.
They’ve nearly doubled their assets from 2012 to 2016, going from $52 million to a staggering $94 MILLION DOLLARS
Whittier Heights, like most all of LIHI’s villages, allows for open drug and alcohol use (aka “low barrier”), but drug use is not allowed in its own public spaces. Therefore, the neighborhoods where these villages are put in have dealt with the dire negative impacts of the villages as the women and men must leave the villages to do their drugs in the surrounding neighborhoods, leaving needles, pipes and debris on sidewalks, parks and schools.
Crime goes up substantially around the neighborhoods, in most cases, at least 130%. In Whittier Heights/Crown Hill, we’ve seen a huge increase in prostitution, pimps, open drug dealing, open drug usage, camps set up on sidewalks, in our parks, on our ballfields, needle debris, residential burglaries, graffiti, RV’s, and more. The residents of these villages are also at increased risk for assault and harm, Our police are critically understaffed, and the criminals are taking advantage of this on a daily basis. The police confirm this, the businesses confirm this, and the residents are all living this.
This Village is also within blocks of our major schools such as Ballard High School, Whittier Heights Elementary, Loyal Heights Elementary and Whitman Middle School. We must and can do better for all.
The City is failing our unsheltered, and is failing it’s housed residents. We are signing this petition to demand that Whittier Heights to be closed immediately. We are demanding our city to focus its time, attention and money on services and providers that have real outcome based solutions to get people clean, and on their feet. This provider is not, and has never been, one that has enough of the good outcomes our city so desperately needs during a state of emergency.
We, the undersigned, are asking for our neighborhood, schools and parks to be safe for our children and residents. We, the undersigned, are asking our Mayor to stop funding organizations that clearly have little positive outcome for those they are intended to help, and having horrific negative impact in the communities in which they set up. We the undersigned are asking the city to redistribute funds to organizations like Mary’s Place that help women and children get back on their feet, and invest in treatment programs to ensure these women are safe from lives of addiction, prostitution, rape and assaults.
Please act swiftly, Mayor Durkan. Our city needs you.
Your North Ballard, Crown Hill, Whittier Heights, Loyal Heights, Blue Ridge, North Beach Resident and Business Community Members