The Shocking Truth About We Heart Seattle

Foreword

Our premise is that We Heart Seattle causes harm.

We recognize that there’s a lot of content to wade through on this website, and that it may not be super obvious where to begin. To save you some time and effort, we’ve rolled up the most important details into a sort of cliff notes format below. Alternately, you can skip the mile-high overview and get straight to the nitty gritty.

Many have come forward with accounts of their homes destroyed and their belongings taken

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We have collected many reports directly from our unhoused neighbors, of We Heart Seattle taking their tents and personal belongings.

Here are some of these first-hand accounts:

A second collection from our friends, North Seattle Neighbors:

In many cases, the households that Andrea Suarez and crew so haphazardly throw away are the only belongings these folks have in the world, which only piles more trauma onto their struggle to survive.

Suarez claims that no one has ever told her she’s thrown away their stuff and continues to ignore the feedback, even when it’s coming directly from the people she’s harming.

Out of touch and insensitive to the issues faced by the unhoused

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As an example, Andrea Suarez recently made it known that she believes bed bugs are no big deal and not a legitemate excuse for people to turn her down for help with placement into congregate shelters that are known to be infested with them.

During a February 2022 radio interview, when Suarez was asked what percentage of the unhoused population are affected by addiction, she stated 100%. She frequently refers to the meager tents occupied by the unhoused as tent mansions, as if there is anything luxurious about living in them.

This insensitivity permeates Suarez’s entire approach to working with the unhoused. The heinous things that come out of her mouth are countless and unending, and she has only grown more confident about expressing this woeful ignorance as time has gone by without ever having made an effort to grow a more informed understanding of the world she has planted herself in.

What’s worse is that Suarez simply won’t accept critical feedback, and has consistently been a revisionist historian when it comes to acknowledging her mistakes in such that she never made them.  The bottom line is that her unwavering committment to the many harmful false beliefs that motivate her actions is but one way she demonstrates that she lacks the empathy necessary to truly help people in need.

Lied about harboring a child sex offender

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Andrea Suarez willfully concealed the fact that one of her core volunteers is a registered child sex offender.

She knowingly exposed both the vulnerable population she serves as well as her minor volunteers to potential harm, while outwardly maintaining that her organization does not work with sex offenders of any kind.

We are supportive of recovery and reintegration into society for sex offenders under honest circumstances and believe that Suarez’s choice to handle the situation this way was as unfair to her volunteer as it was anyone who’s safety may have been at risk as a result of his presence.

Suarez remains unapologetic for her actions.

Read more about it here:

They are not qualified case managers nor social workers

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Despite what Andrea Suarez would have the world believe, she nor anyone else within the We Heart Seattle organization is a licensed social worker or case manager apart from their board president Kevin Dahlgren (who lives and works in Portland, Oregon and to the best of our knowledge is not licensed in Washington State).

There is no amount of saying it into existence that will make it true.

Practices violate legal requirements for operating as a federal 501(c)3 non-profit

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From political lobbying and candidate endorsement to employing people who were formerly beneficiaries of We Heart Seattle’s charity, they violate almost every legal requirement for federal recognition as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in good standing.

We Heart Seattle’s saving grace thus far has been a several-year backup in auditing within the IRS on account of being so short-staffed that less than two dozen complaints have been investigated since 2017.

City government told them to stop

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In October of 2021, the Seattle City Council ordered We Heart Seattle to cease and desist for many of the same reasons enumerated here.

Mayor Durkan’s office messaged to them when they were beginning their effoerts, that the city does not condone their actions given their refusal to follow the city’s 20-foot rule when working in and around encampments.

Mayor Harrell has largely been silent in response to their many attempts to gain his recognition, and rejected their application for participation in a city sponsored cleanup effort last year.

Mark Dones halted a meeting Suarez had been trying to get invited to for a long time in order to ask her to leave and Councilman Lewis has straight up stopped responding to her text messages that primarily consist of what equate to homeless porn.

We’re not sure why the city hasn’t taken more direct action against them given how clear the messaging is that they want nothing to do with We Heart Seattle.

Charitable donations are not applied to reducing homelessness

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We Heart Seattle provides very little insight into where their funds come from, how they are used, or as it recently came into question, why they aren’t.

At long last they’ve prepared tax returns for the two years they were delinquent, and you’d think they might be informative of where all of their money goes. However, reviewing them left us with more questions than it gave us answers.

We Heart Seattle booked nearly $300k in revenue in 2021 in the form of charitable contributions and possibly grants, and closed the year out with $200k in the bank. Their operating costs total just under $100k, $70k of which are logged simply as “program expenses” with no enumeration of what those are in the designated section.

However, we’re not here to squawk at how this money may or may not have been spent. What we really want to know is why We Heart Seattle isn’t actively investing their surplus earnings into the cause they claim to represent. There are so many things they could do with that money that could make a tangible positive impact that might even stand a chance of giving us a reason to shut up. Failing that, it is common practice in the not for profit world for organizations with a budgetary surplus, to give the extra funds away in the form of grants or good-faith loans to to other orgs and individuals aligned with their cause and values.

They applied for and received a grant near the end of 2022 in the ballpark of $10k-$15k, which they purported to be using to fund their fancy catered dinner event at the Washington Athletic Club in January of this year.

Two thirds of their revenue is just sitting there, unspent! Why would they apply for grant money to pay for what equates to a schmoozing event above actually HELPING THE HOMELESS? JFC. Please excuse us while we roll our eyes so hard we’re levitating.

A well-known attribute of the ethos of mutual aid and the vast majority of those  who willingly go into social work is to give to others in need if we have it to spare, which often equates to enduring a lot of financial hardship by cause of over-extending ourselves. We’d give away our last dollar if we thought we could, which we will not defend as a way of life every person should follow by any stretch, but from this perspective, it really doesn’t help We Heart Seattle’s image to throw accusations around about who might be a profiteer for the homeless industrial complex when they’re sitting on a literal gold mine of charitable contributions by our standards. This has never reeked more of a grift operation than it does now.

Partners with anti-homeless hate group Safe Seattle

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Andrea Suarez is featured as one of the top participants in the group’s Facebook community.

The founder of Safe Seattle, David Preston, has gone so far as to attempt to sue the city of Seattle in order to prevent the construction of tiny home communities that the city provides as transitional housing. He has personally doxxed several people who have been brave enough to speak out against his bigoted, questionably criminal behavior, and one even reported an attempted arson of their residence a few years ago.

Favorable affiliation of any kind with this group immediately raises red flags, which even Suarez herself knew well enough to outwardly distance herself from the association during the first months of We Heart Seattle’s operation, insisting that there was no affiliation. However, as time has gone by, she’s dropped the pretense and no longer attempts to conceal her connection with the hate group and its leader.

Andrea Suarez falsely represents herself for personal gain

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Not being a qualified case manager didn’t stop Andrea Suarez from impersonating one in order to gain access to someone at a youth shelter.

There are multiple documented instances in which she has falsely represented herself or her relationships, primarily with government officials, for her own benefit. This is all kinds of illegal, and many Seattle city government officials will have nothing to do with her because of it.

Proponents of arrest, mandatory rehab and forced hospitalization

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Playing into the “all homeless people are criminals and drug addicts” trope that We Heart Seattle is notorious for spouting, Andrea Suarez and Kevin Dahlgren have both said on multiple occassions that they support police arrest, mandatory rehab and forced hospitalization as a solution for homelessness. With the recent addition of Michael Shellenberger to the We Heart Seattle board of directors, they’ve begun pushing even harder on this idea.

Shellenberger is the author of the book San Fransicko, and serves on the board of directors for at least three other organizations similar to We Heart Seattle. He has also made sizable financial contributions to each of them on the order of tens of thousands of dollars, which tells us that he isn’t done with trying to make a run in California state politics.

It is possible to hear this narrative begin to take form during a December 2021 interview on Mike Solan’s podcast Hold the Line, which featuring both Suarez and Dahlgren together, but do be forewarned about the episode’s overall cringe-factor if you decide to check it out.

Has pushed for legislation that would illegalize mutual aid and harm reduction

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Andrea Suarez believes in giving people a hand up, not a hand out, not housing first but housing earned, etc.

In accordance with these beliefs, she has written to city council and the mayor’s office on several occassions, urging them to support legislature similar to Spokane, Washington’s recent policy that makes it illegal to bring meals and harm reduction supplies to individuals residing in city parks.

Not surprisingly, death by overdose and instances of Hepatitis and other diseases that are passed through IV-sharing skyrocketed in Spokane following the adoption of this law.

Illegalizing homelessness is not only ineffective, it’s inhumane.

Does not provide long term solutions

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Emergency shelters and tent cities do not even resemble long term housing solutions, and yet this is where many of the people Andrea Suarez claims to have helped have been sent.

Many have since returned to homelessness on the street, and some never truly left, as much of the recent fiasco with Charles Woodward demonstrated.

Believes the homeless should be forced to labor for the provision of basic necessities

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Andrea Suarez isn’t shy about her perspective on this issue, and can frequently be heard stating thing that are consistent with the common false belief that homeless people don’t have jobs.

She made her debut in the fall of 2020 by verbally abusing mutual aid volunteers who had organized a hamburger cookout at a local park. She called them enablers and insisted that the unhoused should be required to pick up trash before they are given something to eat.

One of the volunteers wrote email to Suarez following the event to give her a piece of their mind and received this in reply.

Holding people accountable and empowering them to do something is giving them a hand up, not a hand out. We train dogs, we parent toddlers, and there is no reason we cannot expect the homeless, addicted or mentally ill to be challenged more to contribute something.

Suarez claims that folks are twisting her words and making a big deal out of nothing, but you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

More recently, she was up in arms via email to various city government officials over the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s provision of $25 stipends to unhoused individuals without requiring them to pick up garbage.

Many have been sent out of state

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Andrea Suarez says in many interviews about her organization, that Seattle’s homelessness issue is largely due to an influx problem, claiming that many of the people who live on our streets came here from other states due to the generous benefits available to the unhoused.

We could spend a great deal of time dissecting the many ways in which perpetuation of this false belief is problematic, but we have more important things to focus on here.

Two things have resulted from Suarez’s position on the matter:

  1. Several people that Suarez claims to have housed have simply received a bus ticket to a destination out of state never to be heard from again.
  2. There are two known cases in which people acquiesced to being sent to the Bybee Lake shelter just outside of Portland, Oregon, away from their friends, family and support network.

Invasion of privacy

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One of the more grotesque features of the way We Heart Seattle operates is the frequent posting of pictures of them and their residences all over their public Facebook group.

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