This means that parks, sidewalks, government buildings, open lots ETC could turn into outdoor homeless shelters!
In this update, I want tell you what’s happened since, why it is so important for the people of Seattle to remain keenly engaged in the discussion, and efforts to change this legislation. This update gives my perspective on three important issues surrounding this proposed new law.
- How this legislation will impact you, your family, and neighbors.
- The elephant in the room that’s being ignored.
- A much better solution.
The Impact on You, Your Family and Neighbors
As introduced on September 6, the proposed law establishes a new right to camp on public property across Seattle, including in our parks and greenbelts, and on sidewalks and planting strips. The law mandates that city government make public spaces available for camping in tents or vehicles. It creates complicated rules and processes that must be followed before anyone can be removed from a camping site. If anyone is removed, the city government must provide “adequate and accessible” long-term housing. Finally, if any of this process is violated, the proposed law establishes a $250 penalty per violation to be paid to the individual camper by city taxpayers.
Needless to say, this new law is not the balanced approach we all deserve, an approach that weighs and balances compassion with our public health and safety obligations. This proposed law is not balanced and will do absolutely nothing to move people from homelessness to safe and appropriate housing. Nothing.
Look around our great city and ask yourself whether you like what’s been happening even before this new right to camp has been established. Tents along our roadways and in our parks. Trash piling high in our greenbelts, in our neighborhoods and along Interstate 5. It seems as if city government has been paralyzed by the confusion and conflict around homelessness. Just look at the evidence.