Homeless Camps: My Testimony to the King County Council (Part 2)

Mary Bourguignon
Principal Legislative Analyst
Lead, Government Accountability & Oversight Committee

October 23, 2014

Dear Mary:

Here’s another set of comments and information for the Council to review.

Note: SHARE is an acronym for the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, a local non-profit housing group that has extensive dealings with King County government and with the King County Council in particular. SOCR is an abbreviation for the Seattle Office of Civil Rights.


Attachment 1: Extract from a Seattle Office of Civil Rights complaint against SHARE (Case #SOCR10HO067)

This case is a complaint filed with the SOCR by Ms. Dominique Trudel.  In the complaint, Ms. Trudel says that in late 2010, she had been staying in a SHARE-run shelter in Seattle when a male shelter resident, Dale Jackson, began sending her sexually inappropriate text messages. She complained to shelter staff about this and was ignored. When she later checked Jackson’s name against a police sex-offender list, she discovered that Jackson was a convicted rapist. At that point she contacted Seattle police on a non-emergency number and asked them to talk to Mr. Jackson. Unfortunately, when a Seattle police officer tried to contact Jackson, he had already disappeared, never to return.

When SHARE staffers discovered that Ms. Trudel had contacted the police on her own, without asking their permission, they evicted her from the shelter immediately, putting her back out on the street with Mr. Jackson. If you look at complete file at the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, you’ll see testimony from Ms. Trudel describing her state of mind after she was evicted from the shelter. She was very frightened and distraught. It was night-time, she was on the streets, and she felt that she was being followed by someone.

Significance of Ms. Trudel’s Civil Rights Complaint against SHARE

What does this document say about the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE)? What does it say about a county government that would do business with such an organization?

SHARE already receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind donations from King County taxpayers each year. SHARE will be the primary beneficiary of the proposed encampment ordinance extension as well. Not surprisingly, SHARE has had significant impact on the creation of this legislation, through their regular appearances at County Council meetings and through their representation on advisory governmental advisory boards such as the Committee to End Homelessness in King County, where they have two slots reserved for them. (Anitra Freeman and Jarvis Capucion are both  SHARE staffers.) SHARE has also had representation on various Seattle City taskforces dealing with homelessness.

Ms. Trudel’s complaint is evidence that SHARE is not able to maintain security at their shelters. Beyond that, it suggests that people in SHARE shelters who contact the police on their own are punished for doing so. When you take Ms. Trudel’s experience together with the Bellevue Police report on a drug overdose death at Tent City 4 (see attached) and various reports in the newspapers over the years, you get a picture of an organization that not only disregards the safety of the homeless people under its care but actually interferes with the police who are trying to protect them.

Note: After the initial complaint was filed and statements were taken, SOCR was unable to locate Ms. Trudel to determine if she wanted to follow through. However, SHARE does not contest Ms. Trudel’s most important claims of fact. For example, SHARE does not contest Ms. Trudel’s claim that she had gone to SHARE staff with complaints against Dale Jackson before she called the police. And SHARE does not contest Ms. Trudel’s claim that she was evicted as a direct result of her contacting police. SHARE’s representatives maintained throughout that they considered Ms. Trudel’s call to the police a “frivolous” and that it was a violation of SHARE’s rules on emergency calls.


Attachment 2:  SOCR Inquiry Response from Marvin Futrell 

This document was sent to SOCR in late 2010 by Mr. Marvin Futrell, “SHARE Mens Organizer.” Mr. Futrell’s letter is in response to a a query from SOCR regarding Ms. Trudel’s complaint. In the letter, Futrell states SHARE’s official position on the matter, which is that Ms. Trudel made a “frivolous 911 call” without getting approval for it first. Mr. Futrell’s conclusion was that Ms. Trudel  deserved to be evicted from SHARE housing:

Significance of Marvin Futrell’s letter

Marvin Futrell’s letter crystallizes SHARE’s problems with the police and security. Beyond that, the document could be important because I believe the Marvin Futrell who wrote it is the same “Marvin” who was in charge of Tent City 4 on July 1st of 2014, when a homeless man there died of a drug overdose. If you will recall from the Bellevue police report of that incident I sent you earlier (also see attached) the Marvin in charge at Tent City 4 not only refused to cooperate with the police investigation himself, he told others at the camp to not to cooperate as well:

Although the Marvin at Tent City 4 refused to give his last name to the police, his identity could easily be verified by checking with the police officer who filed the report. Whether it’s the same Marvin in both reports or not, it IS the same SHARE.

–It’s the same SHARE that’s always refusing to cooperate with police.

–It’s the same SHARE that’s telling others not to cooperate with the police.

–And it’s the same SHARE coming to the King County Council now, asking for another 10 years to operate their camps as enclaves of lawlessness and squalor, free from police interference.

I’ll repeat what I’ve said to the Council many times before . . . the proposed ordinance should not be approved until such time as the Council can be assured of SHARE’s cooperation in enforcing the law and in protecting the people in its camps and shelters.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

David Preston


Attachment 3: Bellevue Police Report From a July 1, 2014 Incident at Tent City 4 (For reference) 

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