Tag Archives: Homeless Encampment Sweeps

OPINION: When It Comes to the Unhoused, We Speak With Compassion but Act Without Empathy

by Marcus Harrison Green


(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)


At times, our city’s most astounding feat is being well-versed in the language of compassion, without any fluency in the exercise of empathy. 

A perfect illustration was the cruel contrast I witnessed visiting the corner of 4th Avenue and Cherry Street in late February, just days before Seattle’s eviction moratorium expired. 

Continue reading OPINION: When It Comes to the Unhoused, We Speak With Compassion but Act Without Empathy

Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


A three-week standoff between mutual-aid volunteers and the City of Seattle over a row of tents across the street from City Hall ended abruptly this morning, March 9, in a surprise sweep spearheaded by police and the Seattle parks department, who cordoned off Third and Fourth Avenues between Cherry and Washington Streets and began ordering people out of their tents at 8:00 am. (The parks department posted removal signs at 6:00 a.m., giving anyone who happened to be awake just two hours to pack up and get out.)

Continue reading Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

With Advocates Watching Closely, State Legislators Propose Office to Respond to Encampments

by Leo Brine

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


On Thursday, Feb. 24, House Democrats amended legislation creating a new office to deal with encampments in public rights-of-way, removing many of the provisions that homeless advocates feared would be used to sweep encampments indiscriminately — and leaving unanswered questions about what its actual impact would be.

Continue reading With Advocates Watching Closely, State Legislators Propose Office to Respond to Encampments

Councilmember’s Homelessness Plan Could Include 10 New Mass Encampment Sites

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared in PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


As part of an effort to substantially reduce the number of unsheltered people living in downtown Seattle before summer, Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis is working on a plan to relocate as many as 600 people into sanctioned encampments around the city, potentially including South Seattle. 

Continue reading Councilmember’s Homelessness Plan Could Include 10 New Mass Encampment Sites

Judge Strikes Homelessness Charter Amendment from Ballot

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Late Friday afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Christine Shaffer struck Charter Amendment 29 (CA 29), the “Compassion Seattle” homelessness initiative, from the November ballot, agreeing with opponents of the measure that it went beyond the scope of the initiative process. Specifically, Chambers said, the amendment attempted to overrule the City of Seattle’s authority to determine its own homelessness and land-use policies — authority granted to local jurisdictions by the State Legislature that cannot, she said, be overturned by an initiative at the local level.

The amendment, if adopted, would require the City Council to spend a minimum of 12% of its general fund revenues on homelessness, dictating further that in the first year, that money would have to pay for 2,000 new units of “emergency housing” (shelter). It would also change local land use and zoning laws by requiring the City to waive code requirements, regulations, and fees to “urgently site” the projects it would mandate.

The groups that sued to remove the proposal from the ballot, including the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and the ACLU of Washington, argued that the voters of Seattle lack the authority to overturn these sort of legislative decisions and that the amendment would effectively undo the agreement the City and County made to create the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority. Judge Shaffer agreed.

Continue reading Judge Strikes Homelessness Charter Amendment from Ballot

Compassion Seattle Amendment Faces Scrutiny From Democratic Group and Homeless Advocates

by Chetanya Robinson


During a June 16 town hall discussion organized by the 43rd District Democrats concerning Compassion Seattle’s proposed charter amendment on homelessness, critics who have personally experienced homelessness decried the details and general approach of the proposal. 

As the South Seattle Emerald previously reported, if Compassion Seattle’s amendment passes in November, it would force the City of Seattle to carve a new approach to homelessness directly into its charter. Compassion Seattle is a coalition of nonprofit, business, and community leaders. 

Continue reading Compassion Seattle Amendment Faces Scrutiny From Democratic Group and Homeless Advocates

Sweeps Continue in Seattle: Perspectives From the Street

by Luke Brennan


According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, more than 68% of the county is now fully vaccinated. This news, along with warmer weather and the CDC’s update that fully vaccinated people can start to safely resume pre-pandemic activities, has encouraged many to head to parks and sports fields. But for the unhoused, the return to normalcy brings precarity as the City of Seattle has resumed its controversial sweeps of homeless encampments.

As the pandemic has eased this year, some parents and community members made complaints to city officials concerning encampments in Seattle parks. This was the case at Gilman Park, where one parent reported that her child had received threatening comments from a homeless man who was living in the dugout. Gilman Park was swept on April 30, with 46 people offered referrals for alternative shelter in hotels or tiny villages by the city’s HOPE team. 

Continue reading Sweeps Continue in Seattle: Perspectives From the Street

Homeless Outreach Providers Say New Rules Would Put Them at City’s ‘Beck and Call’

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


Homeless outreach agencies that contract with the City’s Human Services Department have threatened not to sign their 2021 contracts over new requirements that they argue would harm their relationships with clients and give unprecedented new power to the City.

Agencies that provide outreach and engagement to homeless encampments, including the outreach that happens before the City removes an encampment, have been operating without contracts since January. Late last month, HSD sent out new contracts that included requirements — not included in previous contracts — that would effectively subordinate the agencies to HSD’s HOPE Team (formerly the Navigation Team) and require them to create detailed “supplemental daily outreach reports” about who they contacted and what services they offered each day.

Continue reading Homeless Outreach Providers Say New Rules Would Put Them at City’s ‘Beck and Call’

As Summer Approaches, Encampment Sweeps Ramp Up

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


As summer approaches, the City has accelerated the pace of homeless encampment removals, which declined dramatically during the pandemic thanks in part to public health guidelines that cautioned against moving people from place to place.

But now that many people are vaccinated and students are returning to school, notices of impending encampment removals are starting to show up again in parks and other public spaces around the city. The Parks Department, which is in charge of removing most homeless encampments, will post notices like the one below at seven “high-priority” encampments this week. If people are still on site on the day of a posted removal, the department can remove their property, including tents and survival gear. The encampments are:

  • Madrona Park (Madrona)
  • Albert Davis Park (Lake City)
  • Second Avenue Extension (Pioneer Square)
  • Hubble Place/Convention Center (Downtown)
  • Amy Yee Tennis Center (Mt. Baker)
  • Broadway Hill Park (North Capitol Hill)
  • 8th Avenue and King Street (Pioneer Square)
Continue reading As Summer Approaches, Encampment Sweeps Ramp Up

Lived Experience Coalition Says No One Asked Them About Homelessness Initiative

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an  agreement.)


Proponents of a proposed amendment to the Seattle City Charter that would mandate (but not fund) spending on shelter and enshrine encampment sweeps in the city’s constitution have argued repeatedly that the proposal isn’t about sweeps.

Continue reading Lived Experience Coalition Says No One Asked Them About Homelessness Initiative