Mayor Paul Schell was a real estate developer for most of his career until he ran for Mayor a second time in 1997. He won the hearts of Seattle’s residents, as well as Democrats and Republicans. The people loved that he was a risk-taker with a heart of gold. Schell was very serious about decreasing the number of homeless females and homeless families with children. In a pledge he made in June of 1998, he proclaimed that there would be no homeless people on the street by Christmas of the same year. That day in June, he made a firm pledge. Many were curious as to just how Mayor Schell would be successful in doing so with so many factors that could possibly get in the way of him fulfilling his statement.
Mayor Schell made some policy choices that were a part of his strategy to better the homelessness issue is Seattle. One choice he made was to lower the number of homeless people living on the street. It was very hard to keep count of the number of homeless people on the street because it was ever-changing. Some people who are homeless are transitional. One night they could sleep on the street, and other nights they could find a place to stay or even temporarily stay at a shelter.
A second policy choice Mayor Schell made was to increase shelter capacity. Increasing capacity would cost thousands of dollars a year to staff, and that does not include operating the shelter alone. This increase could also jeopardize the homeless street count. Prior to Schell taking office as Mayor, residents voted for a bill to be passed so that property taxes be raised to help the homeless in Seattle. Solving the homelessness issue is actually about placing families and individuals in housing, not providing services for them. The goal was to actually develop permanent housing so that they do not have to return to the streets.
Thirdly, Mayor Schell chose to increase assistance for homeless families and single women. He targeted these particular...
References: Bryson, J.M. (2011). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Fahrenthold, D.A. (1998). Christmas Miracle For Homeless? The Seattle Times.
Mayor Schell and the homeless: Has he helped? Who knows? (2001, Jul 16). Ellensburg Daily Record, p. A2.
Norton, E. J.D., (2006). Mayor Schell’s zero homeless family pledge. Retrieved from University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs website: http://www.hallway.org
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