My experience becoming Homeless in Snohomish County

How?


It was sudden and unexpected


Early in January 2016 I suddenly became homeless with my kids one evening thanks to fraudulant allegations in Court. One day a middle class home owner and the next day begging friends and acquaintances to let me stay with them while I fought off horrendous allegations. I have no photos to show you how I was living, because when you go through humiliation you don't want them. You want to put on a false face and pretend that everything is fine, and try to believe that you are still a good parent even when the world you tried to provide for them has collapsed.



Misconceptions versus Reality


People believe there is a lot of assistance for the homeless, and maybe for some homeless there are. I never seemed to fit into the neet checkboxes for meaningful assistance from the government. There is little assistance for homeless fathers with kids, and in fact many other families. The popular misonception is that people become homeless because of drugs but I have never used alcohol, tobacco or habit forming substances a day in my life. Unfortunately my story isn't a rare one. Luckily by keeping my job, and blatantly ignoring court orders I found my own way out of homelessness and rented a one bedroom apartment for myself and three kids instead of paying the court imposed debts I was ordered to.

Vindicated but not restored


After a year of poverty and learning to represent myself in Court I was able to prove myself innocent of the allegations I was accused of in Trial. Despite at least tens of thousands of financial damages from the false allegations, the Court did not see fit to restore a penny to me. The Court even took custody of my kids away due to factors I believe I could have beaten had the court not striped my of my home and a great deal of my income.


Furthermore it would result in me becoming homeless again in late 2018 while living in Marysville when I became unemployed. This time I was aware of my plight in advance and went to DSHS for assistance. They went through a list of check boxes that I needed to qualify for assistance and in the end when I didn't fit any of them checked "refused services".

(Continued)


I didn't stay unemployed for very long, but it is very difficult to find someone who will rent to you when your finances are so bad. This is when I became very interested in the housing market, how the housing industry works, and how so many developers and landlords who want to help find their hands tied by local governments who don't want them to.

What I learned from my experiences


A lot of things make people homeless. Not just criminals and drug addicts. Victims of Domestic Violence, aging out of foster care, released from long term hospital care with nowhere left to go, victim of crime, victims of home foreclosure, there are a lot of otherwise decent people who become homeless. Whatever the reason, of those who end up sleeping on the streets most will become junkies within a month.


Civil Court debts is a very common reason people become trapped into homelessness.


The greatest danger of being homeless is other homeless people. There are a lot of violent, unstable and dangerous people on the streets and their most common targets are the non-violent homeless people they society at large ignores.


A lot of homeless people have jobs. Typically most of the homeless living out of vehicles have a job that helps them maintain it, but they can't make the hurdle to renting a place (let alone buying one).


I was twice offered a RV to live out of, but I couldn't find a place to legally keep it. I once spoke with a developer who offered me free rent if I could find a place. I tried. There was no place in Snohomish or King County where a new RV park was allowed to be built, despite the number of street side RVs in our cities. Then I found out it wasn't just RVs. All the housing types I need were forbidden by ordinance. Tiny homes, Single Room Occupancy, Accessory Dwelling Unit, small apartments. The market demand exists and the people willing to supply it exist, but our local governments have said no. Why not? so long as property assessments keep going up from the shortage and they can tax people to manage the homelessness and poverty problems it creates, they are better off while the rest of us suffer. Having beaten the homelessness trap twice and understanding the system, I decided I had to try and change it. I had to get more involved politically. So in 2020 I decided to run for office and talk about homelessness and injustice. I didn't expect that over 20,000 of my neighbors were willing to listen and vote for me. Thank you.