Seattle experiments with new solutions to ease homelessness

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SEATTLE (AP) — As homeless deaths mounted last fall in Seattle, elected officials declared an emergency, resorting to a tool often reserved for natural disasters.

The mayor opened a new city-sanctioned homeless encampment and committed millions more dollars to expand shelter beds and social services.

Now, city leaders are under pressure to do more after three homeless boys were charged with killing two people at a homeless camp, and a one-night census of homeless revealed a 19 percent spike, the third annual increase in as many years.

The city is taking steps to offer the homeless cleaner, safer places to stay.

This week, officials plan to open two parking lots where people living in RVs and cars can park overnight with access to toilets, garbage and social services.