Clash over homeless camp sweep near Burke-Gilman Trail
People are being kicked out of a homeless camp that lines the Burke-Gilman Trail in the University District.
Members of the Seattle People’s Party and Socialist Alternative Seattle groups wrote a news release condemning the sweeps, saying the homeless people living in the camp have nowhere else to go. People from both groups went to the area, called Ravenna Woods, on Tuesday to document the removal and protest it.
KIRO 7 confirmed that the Seattle Police Department and officials with the City of Seattle are in the area, moving people out.
It’s unclear what steps the city has taken in the sweep in Ravenna Woods, but generally, when a camp is slated for removal, a navigation team — a new city effort involving highly-trained officers and outreach workers — gives a notice of eviction and offers services or a safer location to live, like a sanctioned camp.
Members of the city navigation team say only 37 percent of homeless people they contact accept offers of shelter.
Officials with the City of Seattle told KIRO 7 they’ve received complaints about 400 illegal unsanctioned encampments. They say their outreach teams are stretched so thin, they average removing only two to three camps per week. Usually, when a camp is prioritized for removal, it is considered hazardous by the city. The city considers a camp “hazardous” when it doesn’t manage waste, or it’s involved in criminal behavior.