Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty

Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy.

Choe has more than two decades of experience in tv news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entreprenuership to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago.

Choe is a New England native and Boston University journalism school graduate.

Archives

Neighbor Confronts Encampment Shuffler

Stop The Sweeps is a controversial mutual aid group, known for shuttling homeless people to other parts of the city after encampment removals. They've been criticized for disrupting sweeps and undercutting Mayor Bruce Harrell's plan to get people off the streets.  

Homeless Woman with Child in Fremont Canal Park Seeking Help

They Need Help Thursday evening, I encountered a 2-month old baby with parents living in Seattle’s Fremont Canal Park encampment. I know there are multiple sides to story. PLEASE send outreach workers. Guidance From King County Regional Homeless Authority “Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women with children. One thing she could do right now is call the King County Emergency Family Shelter intake line: 206-245-1026, which would connect her with shelter and services.” Seattle Councilmember Trying to Help So far @CMSaraNelson only elected official to respond: “I reached out to Deputy Mayor Washington and others to get the woman in your video and her son some help.” -Sara Nelson, Position 9/Citywide

Capitol Hill Sweep Wrapping Up on Belmont Ave

Happening Now Capitol Hill sweep wrapping up on Belmont Ave E. Neighbors complained about EXPLOSIVE growth of this homeless encampment in past few months. Many campers settled here from other recent removals. Where are they headed? Working on that story right now.

SDOT Sweeps Ballard RV Encampment, But Struggles with Enforcement

Seattle RV Shuffle Continues I first told you about Ballard’s “Double Decker” RV last year+how neighbors complained about loud noise/music coming from this vehicle. After @SeattleDot enforcement, owner moved on…but just around the corner. City of Blocks Even after @SeattleDot does RV encampment removal, I personally witnessed dozens of RV owners simply move down street. So is this the strategy? Tire everyone out w/sweeps, hoping they don’t return? Until that gets figured out, eco block biz is THRIVING. Business is Booming Concrete “eco-blocks” cost $20-$30 bucks a piece. It’s cheap cause these are considered “scrap.” But here’s the catch, you have to transport these things yourself. Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel ain’t the only game in town. But being in Read More ›

Union Gospel Mission Helps Homeless Community Stay Cool During Seattle’s Heat Wave

Scorching Hot Week Incredible effort RIGHT NOW by Seattle’s homeless outreach community. Especially @SeattlesUGM. This faith based group is mobilizing volunteers and hitting the streets, passing out water and supplies. They’ve got some PRO TIPS if you want to help. Pro Tips If you run into a homeless person on the street during HEAT WAVE, @SeattlesUGM says be ready with following: 1) Bottles of water 2) Gift card to an air-conditioned restaurant Contact UGM if you think someone is ready to get off streets. https://www.ugm.org/contact/ Cooling Centers @KC_RHA also has a solid list of places to refer homeless folks. Working on Story Also dropping next week, RARE look into extremely vital work @SeattlesUGM is doing on Seattle’s streets. They call Read More ›

Seattle’s Homeless Shuffle

It was different this time. When crews arrived in the morning everyone was gone. One of the SDOT officers on scene told me this is the type of compliance they were hoping for. Problem is, some of the RVs simply moved a few hundred yards down to Fairview Avenue.

Activists Disrupt Seattle Mayor’s Homelessness Strategy

For the past few months, multiple neighbors and business owners like John Hensley, accused “Stop the Sweeps Seattle” of shuttling homeless people to other neighborhoods across Seattle after homeless encampment clean ups.  “They appear to think their heart is in the right place, but all they’re doing is moving a problem around,” says Hensley, co-owner of Beehive Mercantile in Ballard.  Volunteers with the group call the activity “mutual aid.” The hope to assist homeless people who refuse to take services and shelter from the city.    Like clockwork, they showed up to Tuesday morning’s encampment sweep in SODO and packed several vans with items belonging to the homeless on 3rd Avenue South and South Holgate Street.  This time, I decided to follow Read More ›

Updated: Massive SODO RV Encampment to be Cleared Tuesday

Breaking Massive SODO RV encampment along 3rd. Ave S. will be cleared TUESDAY. Dozens of vehicles. Many RV owners here say, “WE ARE NOT HOMELESS” because they live in vehicles and want to be left alone. @MayorofSeattle @KCRHA @CMTammyMorales Tons of Action Parallel streets have all kinds of businesses. Owners complain about drug dealing, violence, theft, fires, human trafficking out of RV’s. But not everyone here is a criminal. I have built numerous friendships over the past few months tracking this situation. It’s Happening I’m working on story at http://fixhomelessness.org, going more in-depth on dynamics within the RV community. Many of them just want to live on the streets and have “the freedom.” This SODO area is also home to Read More ›

Homeless Encampment in Lichton Springs Finally Cleared

Happening Now N.96th St. homeless encampment in Seattle being cleared. But already many positive developments. At least 4 tiny house referrals and several motel vouchers accepted. But some campers are choosing to move to another neighborhood. On going story as clean ups continue. Immediate Action Unclear who did this, but someone already put out these concrete blocks on a spot that used to have several tents here on N.96th St., to prevent others from coming in. Here We Go Again Crews cleared multiple tents on N.96th St. this morning in Seattle. Outreach groups referred homeless into some form of shelter. But moments ago, neighbors confronted camper who returned. This can’t become the norm. Parting Words N.96th St. homeowners complained daily Read More ›

On Edge After Homeless Homicide

After several audible gun shots, the surveillance footage shows a car speeding down. Authorities say a homeless man was shot to death at this problematic encampment. People on the street tell me, it was "Geno."

The Hidden Crisis in the Woods: Part 2

It’s tee time at Jackson Park golf course, part of Seattle’s vast network of public spaces. But go beyond the greens and onto nearby trails leading into the deep woods. It looks far worse than any bad shot into the rough.  “I had a friend show me up here,” says Champ, who’s homeless.   Surrounded by the cover of lush trees and an abundance space, Champ says he’s lived alone in peace at this encampment for almost three years. However, he says that’s now changing.  “Usually when somebody gets kicked out they go somewhere else — where they’re going they’re going to raise hell in that area cause they’re pissed,” says Champ.  He believes the city and state’s recent crackdown on camping in public places is pushing some homeless

The Hidden Crisis in the Woods

For months now, Jonathan Choe has been tracking and looking into multiple homeless encampments across Seattle and King County. Another segment of the homeless community are creating a crisis in the woods, preferring to stay hidden in these lush havens.

RV Recriminations in Seattle

Surveillance video released exclusively by Discovery Institute’s Fix Homelessness team shows a rust-colored car with black panels pull up to the corner of Orcas Street and 7th Avenue in Georgetown.

Struggling at Boston’s Methadone Mile

On the outskirts of Boston, some call this place “Methadone Mile.” Others give a more hopeful moniker: “Recovery Road.” Either way, city officials say it’s a humanitarian and health crisis.

Broken Down at the First Ave Bridge in Seattle

The view from high above the First Avenue Bridge is breathtaking, with downtown Seattle on the horizon. But as you get closer to the ground, it looks like a third world country below. Surrounded by fencing and barbed wire, this plot of land is arguably one of the most problematic homeless encampments in the city.