Chief Carmen Best: Seattle’s leaders need a plan for the homeless
October 19, 2021
Former Seattle Police Chief and Change Washington adviser Carmen Best says that despite the city of Seattle trying to address homelessness, “if you just walk around, you can see that it hasn’t necessarily worked.” Best’s message underscores the need for Seattle’s leaders to develop a real plan to address homelessness that matches the scale of the challenge.
“We have to do more interventions and have more resources for people who are living unsheltered on the streets,” says Best. Some people need shelter, she says, others need mental health and/or addiction services.
For people who take advantage of people living on the streets by selling drugs or engaging in human trafficking, however, Best believes “there needs to be consequences.”
Best encourages Seattle’s leaders to look to other cities for what works or what might be worth trying, but also to see police as partners in these efforts. “There a lot of major cities dealing with these issues all across the country. And they’re looking at a really unique ways of intervening and engaging and particularly working with the officers. Many cities have public health workers and mental health workers that deploy with the officers. There’s a number of things that are in place that can be tried to make things better for all of us.”