After a man died falling from a homeless encampment this month, Seattle City Council member Nick Licata now says he will resurrect legislation he tried to pass last year: a bill that would legalize homeless encampments in nonresidential areas, requiring security plans, a mandate for nonprofits to submit site-management proposals, and locations appropriate for sleeping (such as fields owned by the city). Licata appears to have a majority of the council on his side, who say they plan to vote for the bill in order to make encampments safer.
- The number of homeless people in Seattle streets has been fairly steady, until rising about 15 percent this year (above), but the rate of busting homeless camps has increased as a far higher rate (below).
"We owe it to people spending nights on the streets to offer a safe place to stay the night, and encampments have proven to be one of the safe places," says Licata. But Licata will face opposition—as he has before—from a hostile council president and a new mayor who oppose legal recognition of these camps altogether.