Seattle City Council approves bill allowing for permits for up to 3 homeless camps
SEATTLE — The City Council unanimously adopted legislation Monday allowing for new interim use-permits for as many as three transitional homeless encampments on property owned by the city, private parties, or educational major institutions.
The city said the encampments will serve some of the 2,813 people homeless in Seattle, providing a safe and managed site for people to sleep and reside.
The city said the encampments will be required to develop operational plans, which must include provisions for management and maintenance, human and social services, and public health and safety standards.
The encampments must be located on lots at least 5,000 square feet and within one-half mile of a transit stop, and cannot be located on city park land, the city said. Permits will be granted for one year, after which an encampment must apply for an extension of up to one year or move to a new site.
“More and more people in Seattle are homeless with no place to go. This is not a permanent solution to homelessness, but it is a humane approach that offers people currently sleeping on the streets a safe place to be along with access to services to help them get back on their feet,” said Councilman Mike O’Brien, sponsor of the bill.
Currently, encampments are only authorized by a temporary use-permit of up to six months or if a site is owned or controlled by a religious organization.
The City Council also authorized the spending of $175,000 toward a newly created regional matching fund, in which Seattle is collaborating with United Way to provide a total of $325,000 this year to immediately develop new shelters or to expand existing shelters outside of Seattle.
In addition, the council authorized $200,000 to go toward reducing unsheltered individual and family homelessness. The funds will be used to provide 65 additional shelter beds in Seattle for adults and for youth and for case management to help the homeless in encampments to secure housing, and to meet other needs.