HELP US URGE CITY LEADERS TO FUND FIVE MOBILE PIT STOPS IN THE 2020 CITY BUDGET
WHY WE NEED MOBILE PIT STOPS:
The January 2019 point-in-time count found more than 3,500 people living without shelter in the city of Seattle. In 2018 the King County Board of Health declared that unsheltered homelessness is a public health crisis. The next month, the Seattle City Auditor reported that Seattle only has six toilets that are available to the public 24/7, and even these facilities had visible issues. In order to meet the sanitation standards set by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, we should have at least one toilet for every 20 persons. The City Auditor concluded we need 224 toilets across Seattle to meet UNHCR sanitation standards.
In the same report, the City Auditor’s office found significant evidence of urination and defecation in and around unsanctioned encampments. This poses risks to public health and the environment. Other cities with a similar unhoused population have had Hepatitis A threats or outbreaks due to these unsanitary conditions. Our unsheltered neighbors deserve access to a bathroom. The dignity of being able to take care of your business should not be a privilege reserved for the housed.
We need more affordable housing and enhanced shelter so homeless people will not have to live in tents, in vehicles, or out in the open. In the meantime though, we can at least offer simple hygiene resources to help protect the health and dignity of people living without shelter.
MOBILE PIT STOP PROGRAM
Seattle should not continue to fail to meet people where they are at. We have a public health crisis on the streets. We need to fund an intervention that will make our public areas more clean, welcoming, and sanitary.
The Mobile Pit Stop Program (MPSP) provides clean and safe public toilets, as well as used needle containers and dog waste stations. MPSP launched in San Francisco in 2014, and the model has expanded to Los Angeles, Denver, and Miami. This program has been successful in providing a regular place for individuals to use the bathroom, as well as a known location to safely dispose pet waste and needles. None of the 6 public toilets in Seattle have sharps containers. It is important to remember that we have individuals living outside with diabetes, and they do not always have a place to safely dispose of their syringes. Every neighborhood the MPSP is located in has seen a marked decrease in public urination and needle waste.
The MPSP model:
● Costs significantly less than the Portland Loo model.
● Creates jobs, specifically for individuals who are harder to employ.
● Provides an opportunity for outreach to the unhoused community and an ability to connect them with services.
● Isn't just for people experiencing homelessness, the public restrooms can be used by anyone.
We know the Mobile Pit Stop Program works so let’s fund it and not waste time studying it. We know everyone poos, so let’s make sure everyone has a place to go!
Help us by sending a letter in support of bringing five mobile pit stops to Seattle.
Organizations and individuals who support Everybody Poos:
Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness
Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness
Low Income Housing Institute
Public Defender Association
Quaker Social Concerns Network
Seattle Human Rights Commission
Transit Riders Union
Councilmember Herbold, District 1 City Council Candidate
Councilmember Sawant, District 3 City Council Candidate
Mark Solomon, District 2 City Council Candidate
Tammy Morales, District 2 City Council Candidate
Shaun Scott, District 4 City Council Candidate
Heidi Wills, District 6 City Council Candidate
Jen Balkus, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, UW Department of Epidemiology
Judd Walson, MD, MPH, Vice Chair, UW Department of Global Health Professor, UW Departments of Global Health, Medicine (Infectious Disease), Pediatrics, Epidemiology
Sara Rankin, JD Associate Professor, SU School of Law