The city of Seattle posted notices to campers on the campus of a public school to remove all belongings by Thursday, at which time the remainder of the encampment will be cleared.
After almost a year and a half, ongoing violence among the campers and multiple lockdowns, the encampment on the Broadview Thomson K-8 campus has gotten smaller but new campers continue to show up.
Though the city pledged last month to clear the encampment before the end of the year, it has missed multiple deadlines until now. Many neighbors are wondering if the city finally grew weary of the official they put in charge of clearing the encampment.
After demands from parents, teachers and neighbors to clear the encampment following crime, rodent infestation and more attribute to the campers, Seattle Public Schools contracted with Mike Mathias of a new non-profit called Anything Helps.
SPS pinned their hopes on the one-man organization, who had an extensive criminal record, to solve the problem.
According to KOMO News, Mike Mathias, a formerly homeless meth addict who ran the organization, stepped down from his role amid "…allegations of mistreatment towards people who had been living at the encampment."
The King County Regional Homelessness Authority confirmed to the outlet that they are investigating "serious allegations" and that housing voucher referrals for the group have been frozen.
When he was appointed, Mathias told The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI, that he would not be receiving any money for his efforts and that he turned down funding. However, that claim ran contrary to Seattle Public Schools, which told parents and neighbors that the district was giving $5,000 for Mathias to begin his work. Donations have also been coming into the fledgling organization.
Many asked why a new organization was needed when billions of dollars have been spent on Seattle’s existing homeless assistance organizations.
Police records revealed that Mathias has an extensive criminal past as well as addiction and mental health challenges.
In 2017, Mathias attacked a couple in a vehicle in a road rage incident. After berating the couple, and attacking their vehicle in the parking lot of a Target, they drove away to escape, at which point Mathias followed them and at another intersection exited his vehicle and damaged the couple's car.
Mathias has admitted to causing damage to the vehicle and said that he has been dealing with anger and impulse management issues. According to police documents, Mathias disclosed that he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and a Bipolar Disorder when he was younger and had stopped taking his medications for it.
Mathias also admitted that he had substance abuse problems and that he completed an in-patient rehabilitation program for his addiction to methamphetamines. He told responding officers that he had been clean for about a month but was still struggling with his behavior issues.
In 2018 Mathias was caught shoplifting from Target. At the time he admitted to the crimes and to having stolen from the location before. Retail theft is a regular crime committed by those in Seattle with mental health issues and those funding a drug habit.
At the time of his appointment, neighbors were skeptical and called him a "grifter," equating him to just a new face in the corrupt Seattle "homeless industrial complex.
District officials previously waffled between refusing to remove the encampment and claiming that the campers were on city property, not the district's.
In emails sent by neighbors and employees to The Post Millennial, Seattle School Board Chair Chandra Hampson and Director Zachary DeWolf demanded Mayor Jenny Durkan not allow the encampments to be removed from school grounds.
Hampson and DeWolf published a joint statement condemning any potential removal of encampments from school property or anywhere else in the city, saying "We demand sweeps NEVER be performed on school grounds, adjacent or elsewhere in this City."
Local Marxist activists previously enabled the campers by giving them supplies and chasing off volunteer groups. Neighbors told The Post Millennial that Antifa activists have been spotted harassing outreach volunteers and have told the campers that the volunteer outreach groups, made up mostly of middle-aged residents, are dangerous.
Neighbors have also recorded drug dealers and prostitutes working the encampment, fueling the problem. They have also photographed city vehicles bringing drug paraphernalia to the encampment.
Neighbors, parents and faculty are cautiously optimistic that the encampment will be removed this time but fear that no mechanism will be put in place to keep them away permanently.