Seattle mayor sends emergency order for 3 homeless camps
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray sent an emergency order to the city council Tuesday authorizing three new homeless camps in the city.
The three new encampments were first announced in December. The “emergency order” is mostly procedural, officially informing the council that the mayor plans to take action on an emergency — in this case, the local homeless crisis.
The three homeless camps will be located at:
• 1000 South Myrtle Street — up to 50 tiny homes, serving 60-70 people. To open in February.
• 9701 Myers Way South — up to 50 tent sites, serving 60-70 people. To open in February.
• 8620 Nesbit Avenue North — up to 50 tiny homes, serving 60-70 people. To open in March.
The homeless camps will be able to accommodate up to 210 people. They are a combination of tent sites and tiny homes. Seattle is funding case managers at each encampment. Those managers will further find placement for campers at stable housing. They will also refer campers to legal, medical, mental health, and substance use treatment services.
The homeless camps will have regularly scheduled garbage pickup. Seattle Public Utilities will also conduct garbage pick up in nearby rights of way. SPU also has a program to pick up needles within 24 hours of notification.
The camps will be permitted for one year. There will be an option to renew the homeless camps for an additional year after the initial permit expires.
The mayor’s office reports that the city has been meeting with residents located near the three new camps. There are additional meetings for community members about the camps on Jan. 23 at the Georgetown Community Council Meeting. Also, Feb. 1 at the Myers Way Community Council Meeting.
Homeless camps for now
Officially, the city’s authorized homeless camps are a temporary fix to remedy the local homeless crisis that has lingered for years. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people are unsheltered in Seattle on any given night.
The mayor’s long-term solution is called “Pathways Home.” It involves expanding 24-hour shelter services and re-focusing the city’s homeless solutions to an individual-based approach. The program is expected to take a couple years to set up.
In the meantime, however, the city has implemented a “bridging the gap” program, which includes the homeless camps, such as the recently authorized tent encampments.