‘Stability first’ legislation to address Tacoma’s homeless encampments fails

Dec 13, 2021, 5:30 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2021, 9:47 am
Tacoma homeless...
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

In the latest attempt for Seattle-adjunct municipalities to codify the removal of homeless encampments from public property, Tacoma City Council has failed to bring “Pathways to Shelter and Stability” to a vote, legislation which would have made camping or storing possessions on public property a misdemeanor crime.

The legislation was “walked on” ahead of its scheduled public comment period, and was removed from the council’s agenda on Dec. 7 by a 6-3 margin, the Tacoma News Tribune reports.

The policy resembles Tacoma city law from 2016-2019, which maintained the criminality of public encampments. The law expired in 2019, and since that time Councilmember Robert Thoms — who has lost reelection to council and will be replaced by Sarah Rumbaugh in 2022 — has failed to pass similar legislation. Thoms cites Martin v. Boise, which maintains that a municipality cannot punish the homeless with encampment removal in the face of a lack of affordable housing.

With recent approval of increased taxes to sponsor low-income housing and shelter options in tow, Thoms is adamant that the time has come for the city to prompt relocation into housing with laws such as “Pathways to Shelter and Stability.”

King County Council approves plan for ‘Health though Housing’ dollars to 2028

“It wasn’t about banning camping,” Thoms told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show. “It was about saying that taxpayers are going to provide resources— we increased our taxes by .10% for housing in our community. If we’re going to create shelter and housing capacity, we need to, as a government, be able to get people into that capacity.”

Thoms added that he believes housing first solutions are ineffective, and the city must be able to assist the homeless off public land before they can be relocated into social services that best meet their circumstance.

“What is more realistic is we need to have stability first, and that may in fact lead to housing,” Thoms continued. “But some of these people are going to be diverted into drug rehab programs, some of them mental health assistance, and others into shelter. We shouldn’t treat this group as a monolithic group of people who are just one paycheck away from housing.”

That process starts with accountability, according to Thoms, both on the part of the city, as well as the displaced.

“I worry for Washington specifically: We are a caring group of citizens who are taxing ourselves at some of the highest levels in the country to try to address the issue,” he said. “And on any given night, we can’t ensure every single shelter bed is filled until we have a government process in place like this Pathway to Shelter and Stability.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show


Rep. Jesse Johnson...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Democrat lawmaker claims cops are mad they ‘can’t go around killing people,’ union silent so far

It's an indication that Democrats are not interested in making any changes, despite clear data showing their efforts have made the state less safe.
1 day ago
Olympia Meeting...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: City of Olympia embraces racist segregationist meeting at taxpayer expense

The City of Olympia is hosting a racially segregated community safety meeting as officials continue to advance BLM-inspired initiatives.
2 days ago
Bryan Suits

Suits: UW students call for more police after trying to defund them

By now, you've probably heard about the weekend shootings in the U District, where four people were shot outside the popular Flowers Bar & Restaurant.
2 days ago
drug dealer...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: WA judges side with accused drug dealer over ludicrous claim of racism

Three judges on the Washington Court of Appeals just overturned a conviction against an accused drug dealer by using woke standards
3 days ago
Phantom Lake Elementary Principal Marcus Johnson (Instagram screengrab)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Elementary principal allegedly pushed erotic fiction, said he’s a ‘lover of smut,’ recorded smoking weed

Up until Sept. 24, the profile was public. But after the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH asked him about its content, the account went private.
7 days ago
Seattle Skyline...
Bryan Suits

Suits: You either love or hate living in Seattle

I would wager that I'm not the only person who went from the bottom 10 to the top 10 areas though Seattle area I think is a bit deceptive.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
‘Stability first’ legislation to address Tacoma’s homeless encampments fails