Community Post

Homeless Crisis Center Planned in Jackson Place

DESC is planning to use the building at 1600 S. Lane St.  to be a Crisis Solution Center. Essentially that means it will be a facility for nonviolent adults in King County who are in psychiatric or substance abuse related crises. This place would be somewhere they could go for clinical stabilization in lieu of being jailed or spending time in a hospital.

There are three programs:

1. Crisis Diversion Facility that will hold people for 72 hours — there are 16 beds in this section

2. If people are homeless and need longer term support they move to the Crisis Interim Services that holds them for up to 2 weeks — there are 30 beds in this program.  

3. A mobile crisis team that goes out into the community to determine if a person is a good candidate to come to the center.

They plan on having a group of 85 health professional (social worker, behavioral/mental help, etc.) on site and about 8/9 administrative staff. There will be no security, but all of their employees will be trained.

How it works: Medic 1s or Police Officers from around King County assess people in substance abuse / psychiatric crisis when picked up and if they fit criteria, are transported by police car or ambulance to the Crisis Solution Center. Some folks may be handcuffed or strapped to gurneys, but all are there voluntarily admitted and are released when they request it. Otherwise if they are present in the program they are not allowed to leave the premise until their time is up, or they have found lasting support / housing.  A fence is planned for the front of the facility to block the sight of people being admitted.

There are very few centers like this across the country. DESC has expressed that they want to hear community concerns and would  make the changes unless they conflict with their mission. One thing that he expects is that the Project Manager they hope to hire December 1st will be participating regularly with the Jackson Place Community Council.

There will be a public meeting on Tuesday, November 9th at 6:30 PM and location TBD.

0 thoughts on “Homeless Crisis Center Planned in Jackson Place

  1. What a fantastic place to start. An alternative to jail is what has long been needed.

    I have no idea whether the neighbors in this area will welcome such a center but I hope they can find ways to make it work.

    Where do I sign up to volunteer to help?

  2. How will it be determined by the outreach or SPD folks that a person is non-violent? I only ask because I work with criminal offenders, many with inch-thick histories of assault bookings, and SO many of them call DESC home and get their mail there, that I have DESC’s address memorized. Will it be a spot determination? i.e., the person is not exhibiting violent behavior at the moment (but may have 24 pages of jail booking history filled with assaults)? I think unless you share ALL the relevant info, neighbors are going to find the terminology suspicious. I’m a neighbor, and I already find it dicey.

  3. We just recently cleared the last crack house residents out of 1619 S Lane St. I do not welcome the parade of criminals that this DESC facility will bring to my street. If this DESC plan comes to fruition, I will watch the street with vigilance and not hestitate to call authorities as I see fit.

  4. If they move here videos and calls to police will be logged and a law suit will be filed. Enough of this south of the ship canal. Stores and other commercial needs of the neighborhoods needed not this crap that will kill off any chance of economic investment in the area. See you in court!

  5. Scott

    How come you are banning comments from those who do not want this facility? No obsenity in postings just strong disagreement. Censorship??!!??

  6. So once these individuals are personally escorted into my neighborhood, who is going to give them a ride back to where they came from? Who’s the individual who thought putting this in a residential area is a good idea? Can’t wait to be at this meeting.

  7. I will gladly contribute financial resources to a lawsuit. We need to get a court injunction to stop this DESC plan. Certainly there needs to be some sort of study on the neighborhood impact. Many of these psychotic drugged-out transients may be sex offenders, and there’s children on Lane St.

  8. You’re going to file a law suit? Funny business. Have you filed the law suit for the containment zone yet? You should read the ballard blog. Apparently some of them think they are living in a containment zone too. Enough already with this attitude. You can’t control everything that goes on around you. Welcome to the world.

  9. I live behind the building of this proposed facility and am opposed to it being sited here. As Chris said we just got rid of one crack house. Through diligent calls to police we have been working to reduce the high crime, violence and drug use in our neighborhood. There are already enough transients who drink, use drugs and defecate and dump trash in our alley we do not need more to be imported into our neighborhood.

  10. We do not want this on our block. This is a family residential neighborhood. We already have daily and nightly drug use behind this very building. I have personally been assaulted by mentally ill in front of my house. Drugged out addicts have attempted to break in while we are home. Drug addicts deficate in public.

    DESC intends to bring these people to my home and release them – literally in my back yard. We live here. This is the wrong place to bring drug addicts and violent mentally unstable people.

    DESC is wrong to classify their clients as non-violent. There very nature as mentally ill drug addicts makes them unpredictable and suseptable to violent interaction. These people will be released within 40 feet of my home – when ever they want. 45 of the per day.

    There is certain to be violent interaction. I demand that DESC include me as and additionally insured on their insurance policy.

    These people have no right to bring this to my home. They are doing this simply to increase their personal earnings. This is not a charity.

  11. We must vow to report every single incindent at this facility. We must report the small ones so that we can say – told you so when our neighbor are threatenned, injured, raped and killed. This is a tradgedy and we will fight it.

  12. Try putting this facility in Madison Park. Why is it always the people trying to clean up their community who are the one’s that continually get dumped on? Give us a break and let the charity doners really try their hand at charity!

  13. I encourage everyone to attend the neighborhood meeting to find our more information to the questions you have.

    But just for clarity’s sake, as far as I know from when a couple of us with the Jackson Place Community Council met with a DESC rep, when the patients leave the facility they will be transported out either by DESC or by the jurisdiction that brought them there. They will not be free to “roam the streets”. They also can’t leave the facility while they are there for treatment, though I’m still not clear on what happens if they choose to not finish treatment and leave.

    The rep also emphasized that this is for people in immediate crisis, not necessarily those who have struggled long-term with drug or mental illness. As far as I’m concerned it seems like sending someone who is experiencing an emotional/psychotic breakdown to a facility is a much better choice for them than jail or a hospital. Just think if one of your loved ones experienced something like that… wouldn’t you want a good facility for them rather than jail?

    However, I’m a neighbor over on Dearborn and I still have some major concerns about this project as well. See you all on the 9th for the forum.

  14. Yes you can Jennifer, yes you can control it, you pay for it in your taxes.
    Ohh and since I and several other threatened to sue some time ago, the police stepped up to the task and cleaned up the area. This is not the police doing this. You need to “wise up”.

  15. Were it my loved one I’d prefer the DESC facility were in Madison Park. That way if he decides to leave the facility he can’t buy crack 10 feet down the block.

    Also, no – they cannot force someone to stay in a voluntary facility and DESC doesn’t have the security to do so even if they wanted to. It is beyond disingenuous to say they’ll be held “for the jurisdiction that brought them.” SPD is not a taxi service. A call such as “come get this guy, he’s sobered up enough that he insists on leaving” will go at the very bottom of SPD’s triage list. Meanwhile, angry guy in withdrawal will be roaming the neighborhood.

  16. Five blocks from Pratt Park, 3.5 blocks from an elementary school, 4 blocks from a middle school, 2 blocks from pre-school, etc… What do the city planners want the central core of Seattle to become? These are neighborhoods which should be the most vibriant, but you can’t walk down half of the streets anymore without criminal incident. The real estate is becoming increasingly devoted to more “band aid” services and the business that are trying to survive the bad economy will fall victim to streets that are less walkable and with a diminishing customer base. Seattle, for the sake of our environment and for a healthy long term sustainable business environment, please stop driving the families into the suburbs.

  17. Sorry, not buying it. The “clients” will brought to this facility possibly in handcuffs and/or strapped to a gurney? Doesn’t sound voluntary to me. I’m sure many will demand to leave in whatever psychotic state they happen to be in.

    If the choice is jail or a hospital vice an unsecured facility across the street from me, I’d rather these people get help in jail or the hospital. I’m taxed for that as it is.

  18. Jennifer, we can’t control what goes on around us? Maybe so– so let’s stop recycling and trying to reduce our carbon footprint while we’re at it, right?

    It’s called activism, and this time I’m aiming my efforts at having a facility that helps psychotic homeless drug users be located in a more appropriate location. There’s plenty of empty space for lease in more industrial sections of this city.

  19. With all of the available space in SODO, I don’t understand why the city would even consider placing this facility in a residential area?

    I wholeheartedly support the DESC mission. But I don’t support having a facility across the street from my home, or in a residential neighborhood with multifamily homes, or 0.4 miles from an elementary school or 0.2 miles from a preschool or within walking distance of at least half a dozen child care facilities and schools.

    It is entirely inappropriate to house a crisis center in a residential neighborhood. The proposed facility isn’t intended to offer long-term housing – it’s intended to hold people anywhere from 72 hrs to 2 weeks. In addition, people are are transported by police car or ambulance to the center and some of them may be handcuffed or strapped to gurneys, but all are there voluntarily admitted and are released when they request it. So essentially this facility would be putting the entire neighborhood of S Lane St and the surrounding area in jeopardy and at risk – that’s just down right irresponsible.

    I urge the DESC to seek out a more appropriate location for this crisis facility.

  20. Chris,

    It’s just that “eyes” has been singing this south of the ship canal song for several years and the rhetoric gets tiring. You don’t need to stop recycling or reducing your carbon footprint or enhancing your vegan thumb print, or anything like that. Go ahead and save the planet. But what about the people on the planet? Screw them? Or is it more like take care of yourself and watch your back, everyone else is on their own? You can control what you do and the impact you have to your heart’s content. I’m saying you can’t always control what others do or the impact they have. Sorry if that was confusing to you.

    I do understand activism. Some people call me an activist. It sounds like we have different missions though. Nothing wrong with that.

    So what you are saying is that 16th and lane is too residential and somewhere else is more appropriate. First off, 16th and Lane is about the least residential area of the central district except for maybe the ravine. It’s one block off Rainier. More industrial? Like where? Harbor Island? Whenever DESC proposes a new site, there is always backlash from people who live nearby the proposed site. But the reality is DESC knows how to be a good neighbor and tries their best to provide what their clients and the greater community needs. 85 professionals and 8/9 administrators on site seems more than sufficient. The people who may come to the facility already have access to the neighborhood. I would rather have them receiving positive services for stabilization than roaming around the streets on their own or paying to hospitalize or jail them.

    When CASA Latina came to the neighborhood people got up in arms that it would be terrible-TERRIBLE for the neighborhood. They predicted all types of scenarios that would be terrible for the neighborhood. CASA Latina has been an excellent neighbor and neighborhood asset. And the felon housing on 22nd? People cried foul but that project has not disrupted anything in the neighborhood either.

    We live in a world where people need services and I am thankful that there are individuals and agencies stepping up to the plate to provide these services. I think that makes our community better and more safe.

  21. Yes Jennifer I have and will continue singing my song and apparently lots of others are as well. Yes, a law suit will be filed, I have two pro-bono offers if this goes through. What is sad is your complacent attitude and your personal attack on my previous posts. I hope Scott does not censor this one.

  22. Hi Eyes,

    Scott totally does censor posts. I’m not being sarcastic I’m being serious. Perhaps that will change as he moves on to other endeavors. *crosses fingers*

    I’m not sure what you read as a personal attack, but being as how I don’t know you I have no need to personally attack you. I only comment on what you write and I don’t ever call you out your name.

    If you have lawyers that want to donate their time for your cause that is great. Good luck with that one. Pray tell, on what grounds are you going to sue DESC?

    If you really knew me you’d know that I am anything but complacent. Wait- was that a personal attack? Just because I don’t agree with your stance about this facility or our neighborhood does not make me complacent. Our priorities are very different. That is obvious. I support this project and will continue to support the project beyond the CDN. See you at the forum.

  23. Jennifer – I do not understand how you think this is an industrial area? This building is 25ft, no joke, from my back yard and I am pretty sure that I am not living in a warehouse or ravine. I have 6 houses to the west of me where the building is in thier backyard. Also, there is a row of brand new houses not more than 20 yards from the proposed site. I don’t usual respond to these posts because most of the people are acting out of passion, but I find your comments particularly frustrating because we work hard to improve our little corner of the city (and it has been improving) and for some reason you find it necessary to belittle our efforts. Please think twice before you post rude comments in the future.

  24. Hi RM. I don’t think it’s an industrial area. I was saying that neighbors of controversial projects tend to always say “put them somewhere else… somewhere more industrial”. DESC knows what they are doing and selected that spot for a reason. I know exactly where 16th and Lane is. I drive by the block almost daily. And I live within a mile of the location. I’m not trying to belittle you or your little corner. And I’m not trying to be rude. I’m being honest and expressing my opinions. I support the project and would support it still if it were behind my house.

  25. Wow, I am have not been involved in this debate, but on reading some of these post I have to say, Jennifer, you are extremely condescending. “your little corner”? Not to mention inaccurate….”I don’t ever call you by name”, but you write “it’s just that ‘eyes’ has been singing this song…’ At the meeting, will you support those who do not want it in their their neighborhood and offer yours?

    As a minority and former welfare child and social worker, I say the last thing this neighborhood needs is another “controversial” project. Let us PLEASE not be seen as the dumping ground for projects other neighborhoods are too “good” for. The reality is that these projects do affect the moral, feel, value and use of the neighborhood. I am not saying that they are not without value. I truly believe mental health care is the appropriate reaction to these clients versus the criminal system (though question how this will be achieved in two weeks). I will be contacting DESC to tour their facilities and see for myself, but regardless of how effective they are, the point is that these services need to be spread out and not concentrated in the backyards of those who already have less and who are trying to clean up their “image”. Yes, I said “image”. I am extremely tired of “black/minority” being equated with “social service”.

  26. Jennifer- I can respect what u are saying. I am sure it is frustrating for these organizations that are only trying to help people in distress. However, there are tons of questions that can not be answered until this place is up and running and there has been little to no neighborhood impact studies. From what I understand desc has no experience running these facilities(they just so happen to be the lowest bidder) and it seems very risky for our family oriented neighborhood. As a community council member I am not willing to risk my neighbors and my neighborhood’s welfare.

    Also, goodwill has a couple of buildings they don’t need and there are several open warehouse on the corner of rainier and dearborn that are vacant. I don’t like these locations either but they are signifigantly better than 1600 lane.

    Also, Jackson Place has been the location of choice for several ” charitable” organizations over the last 5 years. It is time to share the burden with the rest of the city.

  27. I am a little unclear about the timing of the announcement. The fact that the call for comments and the meeting are offered *after* the decision has been made to place the center here is ludicrous and just insulting to us who live nearby. I am also unclear whether/when the JPCC was involved in the decision or if they were involved at all. If the decision was made w/o consulting the JPCC, that tells me the DESC has little-to-no genuine interest in the impact of their facility to the surrounding community and it will be reflected in how it is run. If JPCC was consulted early in the planning process, when did they first convey this to the neighborhood? Most importantly, has there been any discussion on an effort to pool resources to obtain attorneys to delay or block? Minimally, I share a lot of the concerns and questions raised here and would like an independent source to validate the claims and assurances made by DESC. The article says there are ‘very few of these across the country’. How many are in residential areas? Have there been any studies done to assess the impact of these to the immediate surrounding area? If so, what were the results? Were interviews conducted with nearby residents? What did they say? If no facilities such as this exist in residential areas and this is the first of its kind, it seems to me there should be reasonable grounds to delay or block this until all of the concerns of the neighborhood association are addressed.
    My take is that no matter how significant our voices are at the meeting on the 9th, it is not going to change anything — DESC will move ahead regardless. So, has legal action been explored and if not, I would like to convene a discussion to explore it. Thoughts?

  28. Hey Derek, you’re not butting in. This is an open conversation. I said little corner because that is what RM was referring to when he said “we work hard to improve our little corner of the city”. I have a little corner too. Eyes thought I was personally attacking him. I responded by saying I have never personally attacked him or called him out his name. I never said “I don’t ever call you by name”. Where did you read that? Calling someone out there name is fundamentally different than calling someone by name. I don’t need to be derogatory towards Eyes or anyone else to have my opinion. Other people who comment here freely throw around adjectives about me and others that could be construed as offensive. Oh well.

    I live in the neighborhood too. So I’m not sure what you mean by offer mine. If the facility was behind me, next to me, or in front of me I would support it. I supported the proposed felon housing on my street. That’s right- on my street, where I walk my kids regularly.

  29. ryanbo- As a current member of the JPCC board I can tell you the first time we were approached by DESC was last Friday. We too are frustrated with their timeline and the fact that little to no research has been done by anyone concerning the affects something like this has on a community. Also, to add a little more fuel to the fire, a neighbor was kind enough to forward me a DPD document that shows that DESC filed for a zoning change back in July with no notice to the community. Meaning they have known about this for a while and chose not to inform anyone, likely for obvious reasons. Also, this organization has plenty of experience in winning lawsuits for these types of projects, I would say we have little chance against them in the court room, but we will try. We need more numbers and start contacting city council members, it sounds like they need this zoning change to move in. We can at least delay this till proper research has been completed.

  30. Thanks RM. Would you please provide a resource I can follow-up with to understand what specific actions are being taken? Is there a separate forum or meeting planned I can attend? I don’t see the meeting on the 9th as the right place to do that. Feel free to contact me directly, [email protected].

  31. Zoneing change?!? Clearly the city did not follow proceedure needed for a zoneing change and we have them there as well as through other venues. A SEPA checklist has to be filed, a thirty day comment and appeal period starts with a mailing to the surrounding landowners and a public notice sign must be posted. A public meeting musy be convened as well. DPD would have tese records. If proceedure has not been followed they have to re-start the process and we can take them to the hearing examiner in the appeal period. If the hearing examiner rules against us we can take to superior court. In short we can put them through regulatory hell until they give up. There is another venue but it is not a quick as this.

  32. This location resides in a residential neighborhood with families, children, schools, day care centers and family oriented parks. As resident of S Lane St, I am outraged that my neighborhood was not informed and given the opportunity to voice our thoughts, concerns and opinions prior to finalizing the 1600 S Lane St location for the Crisis Solutions Center.

    Not one of the 9 DESC Supportive Housing locations resides in a residential neighborhood. All of these locations offer long-term housing solutions for mentally ill and drug addicted homeless people – the Crisis Solutions Center does not. The Crisis Solutions Center plans to house individuals anywhere from 72 hours to 2 weeks. In addition, these individuals are in a psychiatric or substance abuse related crises.

    This type of facility is entirely inappropriate for the S Lane St neighborhood and residents. To allow a revolving door of in crisis mentally ill and drug addicted homeless people is irresponsible and puts S Lane St home owners, families, children, schools and child care centers at risk.

    The Crisis Solutions Center is better suited for a non-residential neighborhood, where individuals in crisis can receive the appropriate care they need and not pose a risk to families, children, schools, day care centers and family oriented parks.

  33. From what I have gathered from the Seattle Dept of planning website is that the zoning change has been applied for but status is currently listed as Open: Initial information collected. The project # are 3011575 for zoning change and 6256036 for building modifications.

  34. If you look up the zoning for the proposed project you will see that it is currently zoned commercial. Neighboring zoning is Industrial across the street and lowrise 1,2,and 3 on surrounding streets. The area has a large sections of industrial and commercial zoning around it.

    DESC is not trying to change the zoning of the neighborhood. DESC is working within the zoning requirements of the parcel. The existing structure is zoned for one use and if they occupy the lot then the zoning would need to change (for the property, not the parcel). If I have a single family house on a large lot and I want to tear it down and build a multi-family structure, so long as the parcel zoning permits this change I can do it. But I would need to change the zoning for the new structures from single family to multi-family.

    As a homeowner or even a renter, it is important to understand how the neighborhood is zoned before purchasing or renting. If you want to live in a strictly residential area, then it is important to find a space that is zoned that way. When you live adjacent to a commercial/industrial zone it is unrealistic to think that you can impose residential zoning requirements to parcels that are not zoned like that.

    All of DESC’s facilities have residential neighbors. DESC has been a responsible neighbor in all of it’s endeavors and I don’t doubt they will be at this facility. Most of the outrage and opposition is fear mongering about a population viewed as undesirable.

    Having a facility like this is beneficial to the entire community. Tax dollars will be saved as less people are inappropriately incarcerated and/or hospitalized. Studies have shown that crisis intervention centers save communities money and make communities safer. In addition, 100 new jobs will be coming to the area. These employees may also bring new revenue to local businesses. This is entirely appropriate for the community.

  35. Some folks from the jpcc have organized a short meeting on Saturday. At the jackson place cohousing building on dearborn street, entrance is the driveway past the garage and half way up the hill. The meeting will be from 5 to 6:30pm. We are looking to have a civilized discussion about the project and to get feed back from neighbors.

  36. It’s good to have some clarification on the zoning issues. And it’s certainly true that we should all know more about the zoning around our homes before we jump in to an issue like this.

    But I think you’re making two separate arguments in your comment: one piece is that centers like this are helpful for people in crisis *and* in the larger community, by getting them out of the jail system and into more appropriate settings where they can receive care. The second part, that such a center is “entirely appropriate for [this] community,” might be true, but it doesn’t necessarily follow from the first. I believe it’s the second part–the location alone–that we’re disagreeing about.

    Like a lot of neighbors, I’m concerned about critically mentally ill and drug-addicted people getting involved in what could become a revolving door in our neighborhood. I’d like to hear more from DESC and SPD about mitigating the impact on the neighborhood, especially when patients (clients?) decide they don’t want to stay. Will SPD be a taxi service? And where will people go when they leave?

    It’s not quite fearmongering to worry about an influx of people who are in need of critical mental-health care. Honestly, if given a choice between stable neighbors and visitors, or people in drug-addiction crises, I know what I’d pick. Stability sounds pretty good. That’s not to say I don’t want these folks to get care–I do, and I want it to be outside of the jails–but I don’t blame neighbors for wanting to ask *a lot* of questions before getting on board.

  37. “All of DESC’s facilities have residential neighbors.”

    1811 Eastlake project has the following “residential neighbors”
    Northwest Trophy, SpringHill Suites, Youth Care Orion Center, 24 Hour Fitness, Play It Again Sports, Advance Marking Systems, and Interstate 5.

    If one was such an advocate, they would gather others in their “direct” community to this meeting, and propose this facility in their backyard.

  38. Regarding the passage in the article “Oxford House Inc., a national organization that promotes recovery through mutual support among residents of sober houses and abstention from the temptations that got them in trouble in the first place, hence the preference for single family houses outside of urban areas.” Good point. This is exactly why the proposed location is NOT the best place for such a facility – temptation is a short walk away. And also because it is not a long term solution facility but more of immediate crises intervention which seems redundant with what a hospital would provide. Why not use the $ to better fund a program in local hospitals where all the infrastructure and security is in place?

  39. yes, ask alot of questions and be lied to. This is considered a dumping ground and they will try and get away with it here. It is not a matter of the integrity of the program, it is needed, but not here. They always look for the easiest place and lie hoping the residents will buy it.

  40. So your stance is that DESC is a bunch of liars who are trying to get away with something and the CD is a dumping ground. I see. There is no reasoning with logic like that. You do a lot of assuming and little fact checking to back it up.

  41. I for one am sick of our area being the dumping ground of the city – how many of their own laws and regulations has the city conveniently “ignored” to shove yet another of these facilities down our throats? I would like to see a report comparing the per capita concentration of ALL facilities (drug / prison rehab / outreach programs, etc) combined versus all other areas of the city!

  42. I hope I never need help anywhere near this neighborhood- you all would probably pull a Kitty Genovese and leave me there alone. I understand that you’re frustrated, but point your frustration where it’s deserved: the systems that create poverty and inequality. I really hope no one with mental health issues, or their family or friends shows up to this meeting, they’d probably have their hearts broken.

  43. The guilt trip crap doesn’t work Max. They will not look north of the ship canal because they know the reception they will get. Their hoping they can get away with it here like many before them.

  44. I really believe there should also be “trained” security. I used to work as a Probation Officer for the Mentally Ill and their behavior off of meds can be unpredictable and a little scary at times. I do not think a “regular” staff person should be responsible for a mentally person “going off”. Then Police will just have to be called a second time wasting valuable resources. I would support the project if it is handled in the right way and all their bases are covered.

  45. eyes, DESC already has facilities north of the ship canal and they are proposing another one in north Seattle. There are plenty of social service providers north of the ship canal.

  46. To disappointed: Yes, there are businesses around 1811 Eastlake. This is also “Paul Allenville” where you will find expensive high-rise condominiums within blocks of DESC’s 1811 Eastlake. Same with DESC’s Rainier House on S. Rainier, and Evans House up on Capitol Hill. These are really “mixed use” communities that also include nearby churches and schools and libraries and grocery stores. Isn’t this what a “community” is all about? DESC has proven that their clients actually respond better in a residential environment than industrial or downtown, where drugs are more easily available. Believe it or not, DESC clients are human beings who, in spite of their illnesses and problems, want to live a normal, safe, healthy, independent life just like you and me.

  47. DESC’s next supported housing site of 75 to 90 unites is scheduled to be built on Aurora Avenue at 105th. The neighbors are happier to have DESC than the other bidder for the property, a strip club.

    On June 9, Bill Hobson, Executive Director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), spoke to a group of concerned neighborhood residents, where everyone had an opportunity to have their questions answered.

    There were about 50 people in the audience, and about 80% of them were either extremely skeptical or downright hostile toward Hobson at the start of the meeting. Nevertheless, about 60% of attendees seemed to leave the meeting feeling that DESC was sincere in its desire to be a good neighbor. This is not to say that they were totally happy or that all their concerns were allayed, but rather that they seemed to come away with a sense that the neighborhood could live with this project. About 40% of the audience remained strongly opposed to the idea of putting homeless housing in their neighborhood. The bulk of the meeting was taken up by Q+A.

    DESC is a leading advocate of the philosophy of “housing first.” Many other homeless housing projects insist that residents be clean and sober before moving in. (This practice is often called “creaming,” which refers to the tendency to focus on the most treatable homeless populations.)

    DESC believes that agencies get better results if they provide housing first and then focus on the other social services. This approach is understandably controversial, but there is some pretty good empirical evidence from the New England Journal of Medicine and elsewhere that the strategy is effective and saves taxpayers money in the long run.

    I would urge everyone with concerns about the Crisis Solutions Center planned on Lane Street to drop whatever else you have planned and attend this open meeting tonight.

  48. Let’s not overlook the business part of acquiring locations for these kinds of necessary community services & facilities.

    Would you prefer to see your tax and/or charitable dollar pay for more expensive real estate in Madison Park or for aid to a greater number of folks who need help right now? I’m not thrilled, either, to see someone defecate in public, but every mentally-ill, homeless person out there is someone’s disconnected father, sister, son or mother.

    I would urge you to look at DESC’s website,, and take into consideration their history, successes, and recognition for the kind of difficult work they do. In short, look at the bigger picture, and educate yourself on the kinds of social problems that contribute to homelessness in the first place.

  49. The Kitty Genovese phenomenom is not real (although the murder was very real). Her neighbors did call the police, the cops just didn’t come very quickly. The media quickly distorted the response, and the myth was born.
    In this case, it sounds like the residents of 16th and Lane call the police all the time. So you will probably be okay. Nice try.

  50. I support the goal of this project, but there are a lot of questions to be answered. From what I could gather from the DESC website they have no experience managing a facility of this type, and they may not even have all the answers right now. I would rather have one of DESC’s stable supportive housing centers than an experimental “crisis solutions center” a block from my house. Though, notably, DESC has not built any supportive housing centers near single family homes except further down in Rainier Beach. Perhaps they were unaware that a place people call Jackson Place Community with mainly single family homes existed right next to where they want to put this “crisis solution center” or perhaps they have reasons to think that it will be an ok fit. I would like to hear those reasons, and I want to be sure they have thought all of this through. From what I’ve read in this blog and from DESC there are many important questions left to answer before they start breaking ground.

  51. Are you going to the forum tonight? 6:30-8:00 at the Giddens school. DESC wants to answer these important questions and is having a forum to answer questions from neighbors.

  52. We don’t need to win. We just need to make it inconvenient for them to come here. Despite what CA Holmes says there must be some permits involved. You can’t open a restaurant or cut down a tree here without a permit. We need to find out who issued what and how to have them restrained until an impact study can be made.

  53. You want to use your resources or the resources of someone else to simply make it inconvenient for DESC? What is the reasoning behind that? DESC is not trying to ruin your neighborhood, your life or your wellbeing. In fact, it could be argued they could potentially improve it. People with mental illness in crisis situations deserve care and stabilization. Why would you want to make that inconvenient?

  54. I attended the Public Meeting last night and still have a lot of major concerns. Is there a local group organizing to continue to address the community’s concerns? I see nothing on the Jackson Place Community Council’s website.

  55. DESC has chosen our neighborhood because “it is convenient”. If we make it inconvenient they will find a better place to dump them. That is what they will be doing DUMPING. If you think 72 hours is going to fix anyone you should check in cause there is something wrong with you. It’s not about mental helth. It’s about $40 mil.
    DESC can’t hold them if they want to leave (most will) They can’t forse them out of the neighborhood, so DESC staff is going to follow them around. Sounds like dumping to me.

  56. as an emergency room social worker is as follows:

    1) Mental health beds in hospitals are extremely difficult to come by. Before we had a crisis respite center in the area I worked, there was quite literally no where to send people who needed mental health stabilization but did not meet the “severity” of symptoms needed to prioritize an inpatient bed.

    2) Jail is an inappropriate option for many people experiencing a mental health crisis. In fact, imagine you were suicidal, manic, or psychotic. Would jail be comforting to you or likely make your symptoms worse?

    3) If someone is clearly a danger to themselves or others, they most likely will be held at a higher level of care, ie, locked facility with greater safety.

    4) This kind of facility is a valuable resource in any community and saves life that would otherwise be lost to people in suicidal dispair, manic episodes, and psychotic experiences.

    5) Crisis respite centers provide basic stabilization and planning for what’s next. Everyone gets to participate in and doesn’t leave without a plan.

    6) Whether or not they follow through on the plan is up to them unless they are court ordered to mental health treatment, in which case the individual is not likely to be in this kind of service.

    7) Although people may be brought in/transported in restraints via law enforcement or ambulance, crisis respite centers don’t generally have the on-site requirements to keep someone in restraints or seclusion (locked room away from others) against the individual’s will. Requirements generally include things like an on site licensed medical provider, certain kinds of physical environment issues, individual monitoring etc.

    8) If your adult child, sister, brother, spouse/partner, or parent were experiencing a severe suicidal depression, a hypomanic episode, or psychotic episode it is very unlikely that you would be able to provide awake caregiving around the clock without exhausting all of your resources.

    9) Crisis respite centers provide a physically safe location with a level of care that is in between psychiatric hospitalization/being held in the ER and being released to the streets without intervention, and is a much saner and more humane solution than jail, which ends up pressuring jails to release other individuals who may actually be more of a threat to your safety than someone who is losing their grip on reality.

  57. Pete, there is a local group organizing. Did you put your information on a “concerned citizens” sign in sheet at the meeting last night? If not, do you mind posting your email address and i can add you to the list?

  58. Excellent points all around. I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I’m all in favor of centers like this, for the reasons you offer. No doubt, this is a better solution for people in need of critical mental health care than jail.

    But: I don’t think anyone disagrees with you about the need for a place like this. Yes, folks in crisis need help. Yes, critical care centers are a great alternative.

    We *disagree* about putting this center near our residences, and we have legitimate (that is, not simply NIMBY) concerns about safety. I wasn’t able to attend the meeting last night, so I hope someone who went can talk about these problems in more depth.

    If I can repeat myself: people from the neighborhood who disagree with the siting of this project are not necessarily opposed to critical care centers. They are worried about a potential influx of critically mentally unstable folks near our homes, and they want to know that DESC has a well-thought-out plan and the ability to execute the plan, for remaining a good neighbor.

    (Just for fun, and to indulge regular commenter “eyes” a little: can you imagine this center in Laurelhurst?)

  59. I attended the DESC meeting and left feeling extremely frustrated. I live across the street from the proposed site of the Crisis Center and feel that Bill Hobson and other members of the DESC & Seattle City Council are completely out of touch with the impact this Crisis Center will have on the S Lane St neighborhood.

    Bill Hobson, executive director the DESC said the location was chosen because 1) it was the cheapest bid and 2) it’s zoned commercial. This one commercial lot is embedded in a residential neighborhood and no Environmental Impact Studies have been done to gain a full understanding on the impact this center will have on our community.

    As a resident of this community, I feel railroaded by the DESC. And this isn’t the first time the DESC has tried to force their programs into a community without researching the impact to residents or engaging the community prior to finalizing plans:

    The DESC was UNABLE to provide any concrete plans or procedures for the Crisis Center but *assured* residents that the center will be safe. Really? Do we come across as being that naive? I don’t think so.

    The DESC is a city and government funded program that receives a portion of their funding from a tax measure passed in 2008. OUR tax dollars are helping to fund this program – as residents of King County, don’t we have a right to say we don’t want to house this Crisis Center in our neighborhood?

  60. Thanks for your response Weller. I prefer not to give my email contact to public site.

    It looks like there are numberous other people who are concerned as I am and may have not been able to attend the meeting or did and also did not sign in on the “Concerned Citizens” sign up sheet. Hopefully, this list doesn’t lie in the hand of just someone in DESC.

    So my message to person/person(s) who are interested or have started a Concerned Citizens group, make a facebook group or yahoo group available and post.

  61. Once it has been dedecided not to arrest the “client” and he’s no longer being investigated, can he be detained?
    Also does anyone remember what they said the budget for the Lane St. experiment is?

  62. The DESC claimed the Crisis Center needs to be located close to I-90 and I-5, but I find that hard to believe. Tukwila was the first location the DESC wanted to site the Crisis Center, but community members banned together in opposition and now the DESC is looking to place the center on S Lane St in the Jackson Place Community. You can read the minutes from the meeting here:

    It’s very enlightening to learn how DESC plans to operate this facility…much of what was discussed in the Tukwila meeting was never mentioned to the Jackson Place Community. As stated in the meeting notes “Councilmember Hernandez asked if the clients of the Crisis Diversion Facility would be allowed to leave the facility during their stay. Mr. Andrus clarified that legally the facility could not prevent a client from leaving the facility. The CDIS/CDF would be a controlled facility with the comings and goings of participants being monitored. He explained that DESC has a lot of experience with this type of program and engaging clients so they want to participate in the programs being offered.” Not encouraging…what happens when someone leaves the facility? No one has an answer.

    In addition, it was citied that “These facilities are for individuals in crisis, and individuals participating in the CDIS have been deemed too dangerous to return to shelters. If that were the case, he questioned why these types of facilities would be located within direct proximity to the vibrant family-oriented facility of Southcenter Mall…Locating a facility such as… read more e CDF and CDIS would put economic vitality at risk…The idea that the City would consider locating these facilities within walking distance of the mall is disturbing. The public needs to better understand these types of facilities and the security of the individuals at the facilities.”

    How can the DESC consider placing this type of facility in a residential neighborhood? If Tukwila had these concerns, isn’t it legitimate for the Jackson Place Community to have the same concerns?

  63. Will there be another meeting with the JPCC members this Saturday from 5 to 6:30? If so I would like to attend and hear what else is being said and what we can do to slow, stop, move them out. What ever it takes to help make stand like Tukwila did.

  64. The concerns about safety, which you state are legitimate, indicate to me a lack of understanding about the nature of this kind of service.

    I am not stating there is no increased risk.

    However, there is no “us” and “them”… people experiencing mental health crises ARE your sister/brother, neighbor, parent, partner/spouse, child, etc.

    The stigma of mental illness and prejudice against people experiencing crisis situations runs strong in all of these comments. Presuming an increase of violence in the neighborhood associated with people experiencing despair or mania or psychosis coming for help is, I believe, incorrect.

    I am not naive enough to think NOTHING bad will happen.

    However, I do think that there are already enough bad things happening which a resource of this nature can address and prevent.

    Maybe you have concerns about an over-saturation of social services in your community and how that affects liveability. That’s fine. Let’s keep it about you and your fears and concerns, and not continue to stigmatize those in need of help.

  65. Why are you all upset with this proposal? These people need to be housed in an appropriate location. It just silly to propose locating them in Ballard, Wallingford or even Madrona, those are nice neighborhoods.
    So lets just accept this from those who know more, learn from them and we can all get along. Lets put this silly negativity behind us and make this a learning experience. As somebody wrote earlier, this kind of neighborhood may need these services, so think how lucky you are that it just a short walk away.

    Must go and meet friends at a new Thai organic restaurant on 45th then off to my Yoga class near Green Lake, ohh silly me, how could you understand anything about that.

  66. The Jackson Place Alliance for Equity is an organized neighborhood group focused on addressing concerns about siting the DESC’s Crisis Diversion Facility and Crisis Diversion Interim Service in the Jackson Place Community neighborhood, located in the Central Area of Seattle. To learn more about our efforts and how you can support the JPAE, please visit

  67. If it wasn’t legal they wouldn’t be able to purpose this type of facility in the first place.