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00000181-fa79-da89-a38d-fb7f2c120000Seattle is in the midst of a struggle with affordable housing and a rising homelessness crisis. The City Council is considering a proposal to have large businesses help pick up the tab on these issues with an employee tax, more commonly known as the head tax.The tax would force big employers to pay the city of Seattle for each employee and every hour worked. It's expected to raise $75 million.

Why didn’t you stop and help? A question for my neighbors in Ballard

Sara Bates helps feed homeless people at Edible Hope Kitchen, a ministry of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Ballard.
KUOW Photos / David Hyde
Sara Bates helps feed homeless people at Edible Hope Kitchen, a ministry of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Ballard.

Seattle residents are fighting over homelessness and what to do about it.

When we asked Ballard resident Sara Bates why she believes the issue has divided the community so much, she responded with this story and a question of her own for her neighbors.

“One day, I was going from my car up to my apartment, when I slipped on a leaf and fell, and broke my ankle. And because it was on a slant, I couldn't get up by myself.
So I was calling out for help. And I had neighbors make full eye contact with me and walk away. I had another neighbor who literally pulled out of the garage while I was sitting in the driveway and just drive off.
And I thought: If I was just one block over in front of St. Luke's where I work I would have had 20 homeless people coming to my rescue. But because I was a block away next to my apartment with a lot of high end earners, not one person stopped to help me until I was crying out in pain.
My question is: Why didn’t you stop and help?”

Read: The day Seattle Nice died

Bates isn't homeless. Most mornings at 7 a.m., she helps feed homeless people at Edible Hope Kitchen, which is a ministry of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. It’s across the street from the Ballard Commons.

Right now the big debate in Seattle is whetherto tax big companies like Amazon to get more homeless people into permanent housing. Supporters say housing is critical to solving the problem, and Amazon and other big companies should step up to help.

Opponents say the tax will hurt businesses and won't do enough to solve the problem.

While Bates backs more money for homelessness issues, she said she doesn't support the proposed head tax. She has questions about how it might affect opportunities for low-income people. 

What about you? If you have a question or a story about something in the news, just ask us using the form below this story. 


Year started with KUOW: 2004