[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff:]
I just finished reading Mayor Mahoney’s essay in the Fall Des Moines City Currents, and by golly, by the end I was expecting sugar plums, rainbows, and unicorns to just drip off the page onto my desk. While the Mayor swiftly passes through “our struggles to find ways to help those who suffer from mental illness and homelessness,” he then immediately pivots to all the good things and the great events going on in Des Moines.
The problem is, the Mayor and his sycophants on the City Council (with the exception of Gene Achziger) aren’t really committed to solving the issues of poverty, homelessness and mental illness. If they were, perhaps they would have green-lighted the request from Catholic Community Services to set up a shelter – but they turned it down. There are many officeholders in both Des Moines and Federal Way who believe that hey, these homeless people came from somewhere else, and they should just go back there.
At this point, these issues aren’t just the problems of, say, Everett, Seattle and Tacoma, they’re the problems of every city and town, because low-income people everywhere are being priced out of local housing, and aren’t making enough to create a secure life. (And in case you missed it, there was an article in the 9/9/23 Seattle Times about a lawsuit being filed against several corporate apartment managers in Seattle for price-fixing by use of a digital software program.) And if you ever visit the website of Northwest Harvest, you’ll find an insanely long list of the food banks in Washington State – I think I counted 139 during my last web visit a couple of years ago.
What the citizens of Des Moines want are solutions that work for everyone, not just the white middle class. So next time, Mayor Mahoney, why not inform us of the City Council’s work on behalf of the poor and homeless, and not the slappy-happy stuff you droned on about this time?
Mayor Mahoney Responds
We reached out to Mayor Mahoney for comment, and this is his response:
“The City learned in late 2022 that the Travel Inn Motel at 26225 Pacific Hwy S was being operated by Catholic Community Services as a temporary homeless shelter. After conducting an investigation, it was determined that this type of use is not permitted at the site given its proximity to a local school and therefore not in compliance with the City’s Supporting Housing Standards. The city continues to work with Catholic Services to find a solution that works for both parties and those who need services.
“The city contributes to many organizations regionally and locally and the majority of the council supported adding a GPS (Getting People Services) team to work with homeless and those with addiction to complement efforts by law enforcement.
“I reiterate the city is committed to participating in a regional approach to homelessness, but it must include transparency and collaboration with any agency or governmental entity, and must be in accordance with the laws of the state and our municipal code.”
– Mayor Matt Mahoney
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