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what would you do if you were mayor of seattle
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KUOW asks Seattle: How would you address homelessness?

KUOW is asking Seattle voters the same questions it is asking candidates for mayor in the 2021 primary election. How would you solve the homelessness crisis if you were mayor?

Read their responses below.

The following answers are from KUOW listeners across Facebook, Twitter, and our online feedback form.

"If I were mayor, I would go out and visit some of the encampments and the non-profit service providers," Fredda Jaffe wrote KUOW. "I might even spend a night being homeless, just for the experience. An important piece of information I have heard from homeless folks is they receive a great deal of support from their community."

That's actually what Salt Lake's mayor did, undercover.

Other KUOW listeners wrote in with solutions that ranged from forming task forces to develop solutions to restoring the city's outreach teams. One person said the city should rent out hotels for shelter. Another said parks should be open to camping until sufficient affordable housing is available.

One listener predicts that a lot of office space will be open after the pandemic, and recommends that city officials use that space for community health programs.

"I think it is quite unfair to think that the mayor can dramatically change the homelessness situation in Seattle or in the nation," Leo Lam wrote. "Homelessness is a national level systematic issue, focusing on wealth inequality. There is hardly a mayor can do to change that in drastic fashion (sic). Most of the power in a mayor is mostly management of a city's departments, propose a budget, etc, but she does have a megaphone to change the culture and influence legislation within the city limits."

"...make corporations pay their fair share of taxes and stop demolishing or upscaling old neighborhoods, displacing people who could otherwise afford to continue living in the area," another listener named Ann wrote. "I realize that's two things but I couldn't resist."

Other listeners responded via Facebook and Twitter.

caption: KUOW listener responses on Facebook to the question: How would you solve the homelessness crisis in Seattle? 
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KUOW is asking candidates for Seattle mayor how they would address the issues facing the city. We are posing those same questions to Seattle voters. Follow KUOW's coverage of the election, and the candidates, at And stay tuned to our social media for new questions each week.