Harley Lever is from Boston, but he fell in love with Seattle while working at as a fisherman in Puget Sound. So nearly 10 years ago, he moved into a little condo in the Interbay neighborhood with his girlfriend.
When they bought their home in 2007, they thought the neighborhood was on the rise. However, Lever says things started to change in 2013. He saw more and more people living in old school buses and RVs parked along neighborhood streets. Then came the heroin needles.
"It was common to come across 100 needles walking to the Ballard Locks," says Lever.
Lever also recognized an increase in crime. His own secure building was broken into several times. However, he says his calls to city officials went unanswered. This prompted him to join forces with other residents and help create the Neighborhood Safety Alliance.
Lever admits the group takes a "tough on crime" stance but dislikes how outsiders characterize them as "NIMBY," or not-in-my-backyard. In fact, Lever has seen addiction and homelessness up close.
Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer talks with Lever about his personal story and why he thinks Seattle needs to transform its homeless services.