Seattle’s 72-hour parking law prompts push for RV safe lot
The Seattle City Council, in an effort led by councilmember Lisa Herbold, is working with the King County Regional Homeless Authority (KCRHA) to create a safe-lot program to store RVs and other large vehicles residents have used as homes.
KCRHA currently has a request for proposal (RFP) to create said lot.
This plan comes in response to the paused enforcement of the 72-hour parking law, requiring no vehicle exceeds 72 hours parked in a singular public location. Last October, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Mayor Harrell stated the city will resume enforcing this law, but they have only removed “obviously abandoned vehicles” as of May.
The mayor’s office and others are still not moving forward in enforcing 72-hour moving rules for RV residents, according to Herbold in a previous meeting. The State Supreme Court case regarding vehicle dwelling doesn’t prohibit them from enforcing it, but it prohibits vehicles that have been towed or impounded from being auctioned.
The city council approved $750,000 to create this lot alongside KCRHA’s request.
“Our funding’s intent was just for an RV safe lot,” Herbold said at a Wednesday city council meeting. “We’ve gone through this before, allocated funds for an RV safe lot many years ago and the mayor’s office used it for passenger vehicles.”
“The RFP specifically states it’s not for passenger vehicles or cars,” Herbold continued.
At the committee meeting, KCRHA also discussed recent requests for proposals, which resulted in three organizations receiving funding to operate non-congregate shelter options.
The regional authority says they aim to invest in options that will “offer a place where people experiencing homelessness can stay safe from communicable diseases while having access to behavioral health resources and supportive services to assist with the successful transition to permanent housing.”
Chief Seattle Club received an award of $1.9 million, with $1 million going towards development and $900,000 going towards operations and services. The funds will be used to build 25 tiny house units.
The Public Defender Association received an award of $1.5 million for operations and services. The funds will be used by PDA to continue operating 84 hotel rooms for unsheltered people as part of their JustCARE program.
Catholic Community Services received an award of $471,550, with $310,500 going towards development and $161,000 going towards operations and services. The funds will be used to build 25 pallet shelters.
The authority also discussed a proposal, made in partnership with King County, for expanded shelter and behavioral services in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.
A 5-year lease was approved by the King County Council on May 2 and the existing 270-bed Salvation Army shelter, which has historically been funded by the city of Seattle, will be preserved.
$5 million of the Seattle City Council’s 2022 budget will be used to support homeless individuals with behavioral health needs at the site, adding enhanced shelter and services for up to 150 additional people, including 40-60 beds for individuals with acute behavioral health needs.
New safe parking and services for individuals living in RVs are also planned, and a pre-existing sobering center will be relocated to the SoDo site.