Seattle business owners are furious over the city’s homeless population, slamming politicians for playing “musical chairs” with encampments as it cripples the community’s safety and livelihood.
Business owner Matthew Humphrey joined “Fox & Friends First” to discuss how the trend has impacted his ability to do business as many owners have resorted to placing one-ton concrete blocks to deter the encampments from forming.
“Seattle’s in a bad place right now when it comes to this,” Humphrey told co-host Carley Shimkus. “We still have RV encampments camping out, and the city started to make efforts to move them, but it’s like musical chairs. They move them from one block, half a block from our business, and then they end up in another block. So and then they reemerge in the same block.”
“It’s getting worse, not better, and we’re really hopeful that the city is going to start taking action and not giving these business owners warnings about trying to do what they’re not doing, which is enforce the law.” he continued.
Homelessness in Seattle has historically been an issue, but has only worsened since the pandemic began. Encampments have increased 50% according to a Seattle Times report.
Olga Sagan, who owns a bakery shop in the city, said she does not plan on placing the concrete blocks in front of her store, but emphasized the need for politicians to address the “humanitarian crisis.”
“We’re treating people horribly right now in Seattle across the board,” Sagan said on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. “So I think we have humanitarian crisis here, and a business owner is just desperate. The residents are just desperate without getting any help, and they’re coming up with all kinds of ideas to protect their livelihoods.”
As the crisis continues to plague the city, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced a $150 million spending plan to house the estimated 13,000 individuals that make up the encampments.
But not all business owners are convinced the plan does enough to mitigate the crisis.
Maher Youssef, who is another Seattle business owner, said Seattle’s leaders “don’t care” about the homeless and only care about taking money from community taxpayers. He described a longtime female customer who no longer comes to his store because she doesn’t feel safe walking the streets.
“I think they don’t care,” Yousseff said. “These people, they don’t care. They just want to take taxes. They just want to make money.”