Exploring the intersection of public space and homelessness


Episode 23: Mike McGinn

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“I actually think emergency isn’t quite the right framing now. I think the right framing is that we have a refugee crisis, except [people experiencing homelessness] are not refugees from another country. These are refugees from our own economy.”


From 2009 to 2013, Mike McGinn served as the Mayor of Seattle. During his time in office, his administration confronted the challenge of homelessness in a variety of public policy venues from homeless sweeps to aggressive panhandling to housing policy to sanctioned and unsanctioned encampments. With a vantage point that few of us will ever have, Mike offers a candid and insightful look back into the policy challenges that confronted his administration with regards to homelessness, and offers several ways that cities can begin to mitigate the crisis in their own backyards. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did recording it.