Tag Archives: Homelessness

County Purchases First Hotel to Provide Shelter to Those Without It

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


In his State of the County Address Tuesday, May 11, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that the County would purchase the Inn at Queen Anne, which has been serving as a temporary shelter operated by Catholic Community Services (CCS) since April of last year.

The 80-room hotel, which CCS will continue to operate, will cost the county $16.5 million; the money will come from the new “health through housing” sales tax that the County Council passed — with some notable abstentions from suburban cities — late last year. The County plans to purchase “several more properties in several more cities … in the coming weeks,” Constantine said in his address.

Continue reading County Purchases First Hotel to Provide Shelter to Those Without It

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

A Highly Compelling Session: An Evaluation of the 2021 Washington State Legislature

by John Stafford


“The Legislature has just wrapped up an historic and truly extraordinary session. It has been the most innovative, having produced unprecedented and legacy making advances as all-encompassing as any session in the last 25 years.”

— Governor Jay Inslee, April 25, 2021

The Washington State Legislature has just completed its 2021 session — a 105-day event charged with passing three state budgets (operating, transportation and capital) and hundreds of policy bills, conducted exclusively online. From a liberal perspective, this has been an exciting and momentous session, with major legislative achievements in a wide range of areas.

I’ll evaluate the 2021 Legislative Session in 14 different areas: state budgets, tax reform, pandemic response, economic relief, housing and homelessness, K–12 education, health care, racial justice, criminal justice, gun control, labor, climate change, growth management act, and other, and give the session an overall grade. 

Continue reading A Highly Compelling Session: An Evaluation of the 2021 Washington State Legislature

Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller Announces Run for Mayor

by Erica C. Barnett

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


Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller joined the crowded race for mayor Tuesday, May 4, after months of hinting that he would make an announcement soon. He told PubliCola that, if elected, he would propose a bond measure, backed by a property tax increase, to build 3,000 new permanent homes for people experiencing homelessness; back a local version of universal basic income; and work to find “common ground” between people on all sides of the homelessness issue.

“If there’s one issue that we can all agree on, it’s that the conditions of our parks and our streets is unacceptable, and despite spending a record amount of money, homelessness has gotten worse,” Sixkiller said. “One part of the strategy for homelessness going forward is, number one, continuing to move more folks inside and creating safe spaces for people to move into shelter, but second, we’ve got to build or require more permanent places for folks to [live].”

Continue reading Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller Announces Run for Mayor

Weekend Long Reads: A Watershed Ruling on Homelessness

by Kevin Schofield


On Tuesday, April 20, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter of the Central District of California issued a ruling that is likely to become a watershed moment in the United States’ response to homelessness.

In March of last year, the LA Alliance for Human Rights and several individuals sued the City and County of Los Angeles, alleging that they had not only fundamentally failed to address the homeless emergency in Los Angeles but had in fact contributed to creating it over the course of several decades. The complaint they filed reads more like what we might imagine the authors of the “Seattle is Dying” video would have written about Los Angeles: public health hazards, accumulating trash, rising crime, blocked sidewalks, local government leaders unwilling or unable to rise to the challenge of dealing with it. But Judge Carter had his own ideas, and over the last year has fully immersed himself in the issues and the situation on the ground.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: A Watershed Ruling on Homelessness

Seattle and King County Receiving $26 Million in Federal Aid to Address Homelessness

by Emerald Staff


The federal government is releasing money to get people experiencing homelessness into stable housing through its coronavirus relief spending, and although the figure is substantial, it’s likely not enough to house all those who need it. According to a report released from Third Door Coalition last May, Seattle needs to build 6,500 units of housing over the next five years to adequately house its homeless population, at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion.

Continue reading Seattle and King County Receiving $26 Million in Federal Aid to Address Homelessness

Auburn Votes to Criminalize Camping on Public Property

by Ashley Archibald

(This article originally appeared at KNKX and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


The Auburn City Council voted Monday, April 19, to criminalize camping on public property, a change with consequences that will largely fall on people experiencing homelessness.

Those cited under the new law face a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The measure departs from an ordinance passed in September 2020 that made the offense a civil infraction that could come with a fine of $250. In a report, city staff wrote that six months of experience and the impending launch of the Auburn Community Court made this the right time to revisit the city’s approach.

Continue reading Auburn Votes to Criminalize Camping on Public Property

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

Group Seeks Amendment to Charter Requiring Homeless Services and Clearing of Parks

by Ashley Archibald


A coalition of nonprofits, business organizations, and community leaders calling itself Compassion Seattle filed a charter amendment initiative Thursday, April 1, that they say would improve the existing response to homelessness in the City of Seattle. However, the measure does not specify the sources of funding for the ambitious package of housing and services it would offer. The measure will require a little over 33,000 signatures from Seattle voters to qualify for inclusion on the November ballot.

The amendment — which in its early stages was first reported on by Erica C. Barnett at PubliCola — would amend the City Charter, the foundational document of a city analogous to the U.S. Constitution at the federal level. The charter spells out the powers, functions, organization, and “essential procedures” of a city, according to the National League of Cities.

The heads of 11 organizations in Seattle’s business and nonprofit communities announced their  support of the measure, praising it as a valuable framework for addressing homelessness in the city.

Continue reading Group Seeks Amendment to Charter Requiring Homeless Services and Clearing of Parks