Seven council members signed a letter to Mayor McGinn that said one Seattle’s oldest homeless encampments should be closed by September 1.
In the letter, council members said they believe a public health and safety emergency exists in the Nickelsville encampment and they believe city time and resources would be better utilized with increased outreach, case management and proven programs that provide the best pathway to long-term or permanent housing for the people who live in Nickelsville.
“We’re going to help them find another place, but it would be in a shelter and permanent housing rather than another camp. We can’t keep moving tents and camps around the city thinking that’s going to solve the problem with the people who live there — it doesn’t. It’s only a very temporary measure and it doesn’t result in any permanent help for people who are living in the camps,” councilman Tom Rasmussen said.
Council members also want to spend h$500,000 from the city’s general fund to help with the transition. It would be a one-time funding for the effort.
Aside from these concerns, the city owns the land Nicklesville is situation on and it appears to be leaning toward leasing or selling the land to Food Lifeline, an organization that supports food banks, meal programs and shelters throughout western Washington.
Residents of the camp said they just need a good place to live like everyone else.
“I’d like to see my family be able to move to an environment where we can stay for at least up to two years, have electricity, have sewer, have water — all of those things that my family needs,” Nickelsville resident Teresa Sides said.
“We know there are health and safety concerns. There have been charges of criminal activity going on as well, and you know something has to be done to ensure that this doesn’t continue,” Rasmussen said.
There is no word yet on when a final decision will be made.