Seattle Chinatown community ‘left in the dark’ about homeless shelter expansion

  • A recent major homeless shelter expansion in three Seattle neighborhoods – Chinatown-International District, SODO and Pioneer Square – has attracted backlash from Chinatown-International District community members who feel “left in the dark” about the policies of King County in Washington state. 
  • Business owner Tanya Woo told KING 5 that she is frustrated by the lack of communication between King County and the Chinatown-International District community.
  • Woo and other community members reportedly heard about the project in July, but the King County council approved the expansion back in May.
  • Woo believes that leaving out the community from conversations about the recent expansion is a symptom of deeply rooted prejudice, saying, “The fact that we speak several different languages, that we don't want to make waves, that we are Asian – they are taking advantage of all those aspects to just bring this to the community without engaging us and I find that very racist.”
  • Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, who has also expressed his frustration with the King County Regional Homeless Authority, believes the agency is “working against” his efforts to combat homelessness.

A recent major homeless shelter expansion in three Seattle neighborhoods has attracted backlash from Chinatown-International District community members who feel “left in the dark” about the policies of King County in Washington state.

The expansion in Chinatown-International District, SODO and Pioneer Square has reportedly prompted community members to declare that there is a “lack of transparency” within King County.

Business owner Tanya Woo expressed frustration at the lack of communication between her community and King County. 

“We had one meeting which was the public safety council meeting and they claim that was their community outreach,” Woo told KING 5.

Woo and other community members reportedly heard about the project in July, but the King County council approved the expansion back in May.

The business owner believes that leaving out the Chinatown-International community from conversations about the recent expansion is a symptom of deeply rooted prejudice.

“It feels like King County and the City of Seattle is engaged in this pattern of institutional racism that they may not be aware that they are engaging in and they need to know that it needs to stop,” Woo was quoted as saying. 

“The fact that we speak several different languages, that we don’t want to make waves, that we are Asian – they are taking advantage of all those aspects to just bring this to the community without engaging us and I find that very racist,” Woo told KOMO.

Chinatown-International community members are not the only ones frustrated by how King County has been addressing homelessness. Leaked comments shared between the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, which started circulating online earlier this week, revealed that Harrell thinks the King County Regional Homeless Authority is “working against” his efforts to combat homelessness.

 

Featured Image via Manny Explores

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