Matthys van Leeuwen


Here is  letter I wrote to the Burien City Council:

Dear City council members,

It looks the city council is facing a real leadership test tonight and the days to come. Dealing with the homeless is a real test for humanity and comparable to the refugee crisis Europe has been facing the past years.

First I wish all of you the wisdom and humbleness to deal with this and to come up with a sensible decision.

I would like to give some unsolicited advice on creating a framework that makes coming to a decision easier. Here are a couple points to consider:

Seattle is no leader in the area of dealing with the homeless Don’t follow decisions made or programs created by the Seattle City Council, because they have failed terribly here. That is no surprise to me as the mayor is unfit for the job and so are a number of city of council members. The core of reason being here that ideology at times clashes with reality. It might be a better to look at what the city of Bellevue has done or even think outside of the box and don’t follow any other city.

A tent city is an inhumane display for a small city like Burien I personally believe it is time for a shelter in Burien, but don’t create a tent city or parking lot to deal with this. Buy or rent the old fire station or the recovery center of Lakeside Milan seems to come available.

Develop a program to get people back on their feet Anyone needs food, a shower and a roof above their head, but even more important a pathway to get back on their feet. You are certainly dealing with addictions and mental health issues and it will cost money. I believe most people in Burien are willing to pay more taxes in case you develop an effective program.

Register the homeless and make it only available to people with connection to Burien Any home owner or resident is somehow registered and so will need the homeless using a tax dollar funded program. At the same time a good developed can fail when it becomes a magnet for the homeless in the area. Only allow people with proven past residency to use this program.

Set rules Ban loitering and aggressive panhandling within the city limits. Once you develop a good program you will have to enforce it too. A house of love is a house where there are rules.

I have given many homeless people food (never money) and have talked to them, which has given me some understanding on how people can get there. I suggested to a lady that had anothr people a commercial sign behind her that waving a sign to make money feels better than waving a sign for money. However, she was crisp and clear in her response; ‘I don’t want a job – this is how I make my money’…

Best wishes,

nextdoor profle