June 26, 4:32 PM click here to comment > 3
Providing clarity and stability for tent encampment regulations
For the last decade, tent encampments in Seattle have existed in a sort of limbo. They had been allowed by a legal consent decree that came about as a result of a lawsuit by El Centro de La Raza ten years ago – but that consent decree recently expired. We proposed and passed legislation last year that allowed religious facilities to host tent encampments, but that left behind secular organizations who have been sheltering people in need at their tent encampments for decades.
Yesterday our office transmitted legislation to the City Council that would allow transitional encampments, provided they meet certain standards, on private property in some zones. This is just a small way of helping some of the many people in Seattle who lack housing and other basic necessities on a daily basis.
Religious institutions are not the only entities that can or should work towards providing for basic human needs, but now that the consent decree has expired, private entities do not have a way to host an encampment. We have been working for some time to develop reasonable legislation that would honor the intent of the consent decree and codify standards for non-religious sites to act as hosts. I hope the City Council gives our proposal careful consideration – for the hundreds of people living in and supporting tent cities in Seattle, this legislation is a very important step forward.
Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn