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Saturday, June 10, 2023

City Implements No Shelter, No Sweep Policy

Seattle has implemented a ‘no shelter, no sweep’ policy. Leaders focusing on the region’s homelessness efforts have a new strategy regarding encampment removals. They call it “no shelter, no sweep.” That doesn’t mean there are no longer any camp removals. Mayor Harrell told the media that, “We don’t do sweeps here in Seattle.” He was touting the successes of the recent camp removal at Woodland Park.

The new strategy is said to be based on the availability of temporary housing for the people being removed. The King County Regional Homeless Authority (KCRHA) Marc Dones said at the same event, “We will let availability dictate the timeline.” He said, “We’ll let bed availability dictate the speed at which we move rather than force a false outcome”.

The strategy makes it where before a sweep, there has to be a solution for the homeless right away. The KCRHA has to have enough temporary housing like tiny house villages empty when an encampment is cleared.

The mayor said 60 people received referrals to tiny house villages, 25 got referrals to enhanced shelters where people can stay more than 24 hours and four were relocated to “permanent housing alternatives.” He also said that they don’t know how many showed at the locations and accepted housing.

The reason Woodland Park was a big deal is because it was part of a campaign promise. Mayor Bruce Harrell may not have known that it would take the city four months after Harrell took office for outreach workers get to a point where the camp could be cleared. 

Leaders say that the new strategy is expected to be part of the Mayor’s long anticipated plan for the city’s homeless population. The plan was unveiled at the end of May. People living in encampments along state highway right-of-ways will soon have to make a decision to take shelter or move.

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