Nikkita Oliver on Homelessness
Nikkita Oliver (they/them) is in favor of expanding and encouraging homelessness across the region.
On their campaign website they want to create a Seattle Parks Department fund for “Radical Accessibility” that would pay for homeless encampments in parks and expand them to “unused roadways” and other green spaces. The results for the city’s livability and public safety can easily be imagined.
It is useful to consider in-depth each aspect of Oliver’s policy prescriptions around homelessness.
Stop the Sweeps
Nikkita advocates to immediately cease the removal of any and all encampments, including notoriously dangerous encampments, because apparently encouraging unhoused neighbors to move from a park or sidewalk into a shelter bed is “inhumane.” What they apparently consider humane is allowing people with raging drug addictions, untreated mental illness, and extensive criminal histories to live in filth and squalor in the city’s cherished public spaces. The harsh conditions homeless people are living in are unsafe and unhealthy to the campers, and to the general public at large, by inviting illnesses like Hepatitis A. The societal results of this policy are rampant crime in the adjacent neighborhoods as addicts steal to afford their next drug buy, violence between campers and against the general public who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also a severe degradation of our natural environment, including the loss of trees to tent fires and human biohazards in lakes and watersheds. Not to mention, hard working, taxpayers lose access to the beautiful parks. In a number of cases, disabled Seattleites lose safe wheeled access to sidewalks and other routes they rely on for their day-to-day activities, as well as being fearful to utilize public transportation due to the mentally ill and substance abusers.
Ideologically rigid militants such as Oliver often repeat demonstrably false statement such as “There aren’t enough shelter beds”, “homelessness is primarily caused by high rent” or “Housing First is the only solution”. Repeated often enough, even the mainstream media starts to parrot these falsehoods. The truth is that there are open shelter beds but most homeless refuse them, there are numerous inexpensive rooms for rent in nearby cities, and Housing First is a great way to advocate for new taxes but will only help a small sliver of those on the streets.
Oliver joins many other voices in Seattle advocating for new public housing, which while noble, is also slow, expensive, and an unrealistic response to the immediate crisis of huge numbers of people living inhumanely in parks and on streets. Immediate shelter is needed to get people into the pipeline to housing, which yes, includes congregate shelters for the near-term. “Housing First” is a common demand from the activist Homeless Industrial Complex that will only help a miniscule fraction of the homeless get off the street, but will require the true goal of vastly increased regional taxation.
House the Unhoused
Oliver writes: “The city should invest in hotels and tiny village accommodations for Seattleites experiencing homelessness.” While homeless experts debate the value of tiny houses, they are not scalable enough to provide to the 12,000 homeless in the county, even if most would accept them, which they are proven not to.
Oliver writes: “The City of Seattle should create a fund inside the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department to support people who use the parks for housing, enabling parks to help sustainably and humanely address the needs of unsheltered people while expanding green spaces in the city and absorbing unneeded roadways.” In other words, Oliver wants to re-allocate taxpayer dollars to not only keep the current nightmare of encampments rendering the city’s parks unusable by the general public, but to also increase the number of campers living in the parks by legitimizing and legalizing long term public camping. Oliver’s website also references “unused greenspaces”, leading to the likely conclusion that Oliver would repurpose any vacant public land for the purpose of camping.
The Real Endgame
In reality, almost all of Oliver’s policy proposals will make the homelessness situation in Seattle vastly worse. They will, however, put enormous pressure on Seattle residents to approve new taxes, or any other program that promises even a small chance of regaining a safe, livable city again. In addition, the practical effects of homelessness and crime encroaching on every corner of the city will drive out safety-minded residents, especially parents with small children, the elderly, those using parks and libraries, landlords etc. This will result in a younger, renter-rather-than-landowner, more ideologically-pure city that will help solidify Oliver and their ideological kindred voices’ power over the city. Eventually, another crisis will appear (Amazon will relocate, more CHAZ/CHOPs will be formed, or perhaps a precinct burnt down), presenting another opportunity for Team Nikkita to move the city closer to their goal of turning it into a Marxist utopia, or worse, San Francisco.