It’s a Jungle Out There

When I moved from Florida to Seattle, one of the things that shocked me the most was the number of homeless people in this city. You’d think that Florida would have cornered the market on the homeless because the weather is so much warmer, but apparently not. I have no idea why that is.

Here they are everywhere. Not a day goes by when I don’t see dozens slogging through the rain or huddled on street corners or begging at the exit ramps. It’s truly heartbreaking, and it’s a constant reminder of how fragile financial security truly is in a city where the cost of living is completely out of control.

Ever since I volunteered with Operation Sack Lunch, the homeless situation has been in the forefront of my mind. Recently the mayor of Seattle declared a state of emergency on homelessness, and even as he was giving a speech about it, 5 homeless people were getting shot in the Jungle.

The Jungle is a mile long stretch under Interstate 5 in the South Seattle/Georgetown area. It’s a lawless, dangerous area where hundreds of homeless people sleep each night. There’s no sanitation, rats and garbage are everywhere, and you can’t sling a dead cat without hitting a dilapidated tent or a used syringe.

On the night in question, the police suspect a drug deal went wrong. The result was a 45 year old woman and a 33 year old man were shot dead, and 3 other people were severely wounded and taken to the hospital.

I can’t think of a more horrible way to end your life than to bleed out in a fetid, disease-ridden no-man’s land in the middle of one of the most prosperous cities in the richest country on earth. It’s just not right. It’s an outrage. I don’t know what else to say.

Jungle
The Jungle, Seattle. [Image credit: kuow.org]
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16 thoughts on “It’s a Jungle Out There

  1. As a life-long Seattleite, I, too, am frustrated with the situation. It would make so much more sense to provide housing! I also know that people come here from other parts of the USA because they think they will be able to find jobs — it is a bit of an urban legend that Seattle has jobs they can get. Though people (like you!) do come here and get jobs, I am talking about people who were jobless before they came and the situation only got worse for them here.

      1. There are such a thing as Urban Legends. People who work with the homeless have told me that there still is an enduring rumor about getting a job “out West.” That is not to say that all of the homeless are from out-of-town, but it is one possible contributing factor to there being so many homeless in our rainy city. I have also wondered why they don’t go to Florida!

      2. There are an enormous number of military bases because we are a coastal area. Joint McCord-Fort Lewis, and the Navy at Bremerton, just to mention a few. Many people fall in love with Seattle after being deployed out of the military bases and they want to come back here to live.

  2. lyn sutton

    The dark ages are creeping back to smack us with reality…it never goes well for us when we get too comfortable and take things for granted like earning enough for food, water and shelter…what were we thinking? 🙂

    I got monkey sounds in my head now but that’s just my inner child singing.

      1. lyn sutton

        Mine too. I used to think I was just ahead of the trend… but no…just so far behind it looked like I was on to something new. Maybe I need to wear a watch.

  3. lyn sutton

    Worrying about time just gets in the way of spontaneity and puts you at risk for OCD. I just depend on my inner clock and creative excuses for when I’m late 🙂

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