Community Post

CASA Latina All Moved In – No Issues Yet

CASA Latina is now completely up and going at their new location at 17th & Jackson, including their day laborer support services. And so far things appear to be going very smoothly, with no sign of the issues that had been predicted by the opponents of the organization’s move into the neighborhood.

The big fear was that the area would become like the Home Depot parking lot, with people hanging out on the streets at all hours waiting to be picked up for jobs. But on our tour past the site this morning, we saw no sign of that. The organization’s offices were very busy inside, with a large class in session and a variety of people waiting inside. But all of the activities were confined to the property, with nothing spilling out onto neighboring streets.

In an email to the Squire Park list yesterday, CASA Latina’s Hilary Stern said that the organization’s Goodwill Ambassadors are working to make sure that the organization’s clients obey the rules, describing how they solved a problem with one man hanging around on the corner:

In the morning, a man stood on the corner of 17th and Jackson (in front of our building) and started waving at cars, not flagging them down as day laborers do, but waving at them as if he were paid to wave at cars for a grand opening. The goodwill ambassadors went over to talk to him and ask him what he was doing. He said that he was here because he was part of Casa Latina. They invited him inside, but he refused to come inside. He said that he had been part of Casa Latina for a long time (although no one – neither day laborers nor staff—recognized him). The goodwill ambassadors told him that he couldn’t stand on the sidewalk waving at cars but he refused to stop. We then called the police. Sgt Miles and Officer Knox came out and talked to him and told him that he couldn’t continue to wave at cars and finally got him to stop.

Ms. Stern also mentions some protestors who have been at the site at various times, but we saw no sign of them around this morning.

0 thoughts on “CASA Latina All Moved In – No Issues Yet

  1. i saw the protestors on Saturday morning. it wasn’t a large crowd; only 6-7 people. they were displaying a “CASA Latina hurts our community” banner which was similar to the banners i have seen outside of the UW Medical Center, the downtown Ross store, as well as other various locations.

  2. Has anyone hired workers from CASA Latina? What have your experiences been?

    Also, what’s the gist of the argument against CASA Latina (i.e., how is it that “CASA Latina hurts our community”)?

  3. I haven’t seen this particular banner yet, but it sounds as if the issue is that the Casa Latina workers are not union workers.

  4. I hired two workers last spring to help clear the old growth forest I was trying to maintain in my backyard. The entire experience from start to finish was spectacular. They offer you the option of dropping the workers off, which I chose and they were on time and ready to go to work. You do have to guarantee 4 or 5 hours work, supply tools and lunch. I really should have taken before and after pictures as a testimony to the excellent work they did in a record amount of time. They cleared everything out and bagged it up professionally in 3 1/2 hours. Everyone who saw what they did was impressed. I would hire them again in a heartbeat.

  5. ” The entire experience from start to finish was spectacular. “

    Right on! You try finding legals in the CD willing to work as hard.

  6. The whole point of Casa Latina is to help lift up the immigrant population and give them opportunities, and integrate into society and the economy. Moving out of Belltown is a good move in the evolution and improvement of the organization.

  7. The main problem with CASA is that it is an inefficient program that uses significant taxpayer funds and its workers tend to create public safety issues to the neighborhood where they congregate. At their previous location in Belltown, CASA Latina was the nexus of loitering, fights, littering and drug & public intoxication problems.

    CASA’s director, Hillary Stern, attempts to separate workers flagging down motorists on the street from those within her program however given that there were zero day labors in that area previous, CASA bears 100% of the responsibility for any issues that arise.

    Due to constitutional issues of free speech, the Seattle Police Department has limited powers to arrest peoples soliciting for work on the street making enforcement difficult.

    Recently much time was spent by Sgt. Miles and Ofc. Knox to stop a single “waving worker” With increasingly limited resources the SPD will be increasingly stretched to be able lend any assistance for CASA problems and the time spent will be taken away from their other duties.

    As the site becomes more established this will become an increasing issue that could have been avoided.

    The protests that CASA is currently experiencing are CASA caused, was predicted and was discussed during the Good Neighbor Agreement process. CASA refused to acknowledge and instead denied any possibility that this would occur. (See details at

    CASA’s plans are to create a $4,000,000 day labor center @ 17th & Jackson. To establish a new center for day laborers away from the source of their employment and contractor suppliers, while also spending these funds on permanent day labor facilities is an inefficient use of precious tax resources, especially during this tough economy. More of these funds should be going to directly benefit the workers instead of to grow CASA, to pay for new buildings, and to pay the salaries of CASA staff.

    In 2006, (before CASA built and funded its new facilities) it cost CASA $50.00 in overhead to place one worker in a job at which he would earn approx $92.00. A 50+% overhead per job placed is a waste of taxpayer funds. In 2009, due to their new facilities CASA’s overhead is now significantly higher and due to the flagging economy the number of jobs that they are able to place is decreasing, raising the cost per job significantly.

    There are better ways to help these workers than CASA’s ill conceived and salaries programs.

    Also, please be aware that any persons that hire day-labors on a regular basis are responsible for paying employment, social security, unemployment insurance and L&I taxes. If a hired worker is injured or causes injury during their employment with you, the employer can be held liable for medical care and other liabilities. Also, CASA Latina employs no criminal background, nor ID checks for any of their workers.

    Hire day laborers instead from the Millionair’s club which performs criminal background checks and can pay social security, employment taxes as well as insurance for their workers as well as for their employers.