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Long-term homeless solutions may take up to two years in Seattle

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency over the homeless crisis in 2015 (AP)

Seattle won’t get to systematic, long-term homeless solutions for about two years, according to one city councilmember.

Camp Second Chance remains on Seattle city property without official permission

Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw led a discussion on short-term homeless solutions Thursday. The main takeaway was that Seattle won’t get to systematic, long-term homeless solutions for about two years.

Short-term remedies include a controversial ordinance that aims to allow camping in “suitably” cited encampments, instead of sweeping campsites in the Seattle’s public spaces. They also discussed improving safety in and around those encampments, and restricting when the city can move in and clear out the tents.

Bagshaw said the council must take stop-gap actions to cover up to two years until the city can take long-term action on any homeless solutions.

“It’s going to take a year, possibly two, to see the system refocused so that we are actually creating measurable results,” Bagshaw said. “So the focus of our committee here today is what I’m calling ‘the gap.’ And that gap is the near term.”

“I’m looking at this as being short-term,” she said. “This is the gap. Giving the mayor and human services department the time to get the pathways home and the systemic changes changed.”

No agreements were reached about allowing tents in “suitable areas.” Council committees are working on legislation for the full council to consider later this year.

MyNorthwest’s Dyer Oxley contributed to this story.

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