The City of Seattle will spend $500,000 to close down the illegal camp of homeless people known as “Nickelsville” and find them different places to live.
The city council voted unanimously Monday to contract with a non-profit organization to provide campers with shelter and other services.
“And I hope as many people as possible take that option and can use it and find permanent housing,” said city councilmember Nick Licata.
“I do feel that it’s a good start, I don’t think it is an end-all,” pointed out councilmember Sally Bagshaw, referring to the estimated 1,800 to 3,000 people who need shelter every night in Seattle.
Some who spoke to the council are concerned about how the money will be spent.
“Make sure that money actually goes to the individuals who need our help,” said Joanne Braden. “Your priorities are totally wrong,” said another speaker. “It starts with process.”
The emergency ordinance calls on the non-profit to collect data on how its services are utilitized.
“We expect, on a weekly basis, to actually find out how many people they’ve reached out to, how many people are in line to receive housing, how many people have refused,” said Licata. “We need some solid numbers here.”
Some people who live nearby in the Highland Park neighborhood complained that the closure of “Nickelsville” will just force more illegal campers into the greenbelts around their homes.
The ordinance calls for the closure of Nickelsville by September 1.