Seattle Mayor Durkan visiting LA for homelessness crisis tips

Oct 9, 2018, 6:39 AM | Updated: 11:14 am


Crews continue with final preparations for San Diego’s Temporary Bridge Shelter for the homeless Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The first of three such shelters provides beds for up to 700 people. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is visiting Los Angeles to get a closer look at how that city is tackling the homelessness crisis that has spread across the West Coast.

RELATED: Seattle City Council debates erecting giant tents for the homeless

Los Angeles is one of two California cities that are using giant tents — Sprung tents — to house the homeless population. Mayor Durkan was asked by KIRO Radio Monday if she supported establishing such a tent program in Seattle. She declined to take a stance, but said that she would know better after her trip to LA.

But according to a spokesperson from the mayor’s office, Durkan’s trip will not include any visits to LA’s giant tents and she does not plan to discuss such a homeless program.

The Seattle City Council is discussing the potential for massive tents to house the city’s homeless population. LA and San Diego have already experimented with such programs. The structures appear like large circus tents — called Sprung tents. Inside is dorm-style housing — partitions dividing living quarters, and have room for showers, and other amenities. The Sprung tents could theoretically hold more than 100 people.

While she is not discussing a giant tent program, Durkan plans to meet with local leaders, including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, to discuss how they are handling the homelessness crisis.

According to the mayor’s spokesperson Kamaria Hightower:

The focus of Mayor Durkan’s trip is to meet with local leaders, including Mayor Garcetti, on L.A.’s governance structure for homelessness services. As you know, the city and (King) County are working to develop a stronger and more coordinated structure that meets the needs of people experiencing homelessness and this visit could help to inform a more effective, systemic approach to our regions homelessness response.

Seattle and King County agreed in May to better coordinate the regional approach to the homelessness crisis.

RELATED: Study claims Seattle homeless problem is improving

The mayor’s trip comes as the city council continues to move through the budget process, which includes homeless spending. Mayor Durkan’s current biennial budget proposal includes just $90 million a year to address homelessness.

MyNorthwest’s Dyer Oxley contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the mayor’s travel agenda included an up close look at Los Angeles’ large tents to the house the homeless population. That is not on the agenda.

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Seattle Mayor Durkan visiting LA for homelessness crisis tips