The number of people living unsheltered in encampments has increased substantially in the last several years. Unauthorized encampments sometimes obstruct the normal use of public property and sometimes are health and safety hazards for encampment occupants and the general public. Removing unauthorized encampments reduces their impact on the surrounding community but also disrupts the lives of the already vulnerable people living in them. Since 2008, the City has had specific rules for the removal of encampments that balance providing services and alternatives to people living in encampments with the health and safety benefits of removing encampments.
In 2016, Mayor Murray formed a Task Force on Unsanctioned Encampment Cleanup Protocols to make recommendations on changing the encampment removal rules. In October 2016, he announced the Bridging the Gap to Pathways Home plan. This plan increases short-term support to people living without homes while longer-term strategies are reorganized. A part of the Bridging the Gap plan is rewriting the rules for removing encampments. Compared to the existing rules, the new rules:
- Identify specific criteria for prioritizing the removal of encampments.
- Require the offer of a shelter alternative in order to remove many encampments.
- Require the City to deliver materials it stores from encampments to their owners.
- Streamline the process for removing encampments that obstruct the intended use of public facilities like sidewalks and parks.
The City is soliciting public comment on the proposed rules through Wednesday, Feb. 15. Interested parties may send their comments to:
|Mail:||City of Seattle
Department of Finance and Administrative Services
Attention: Frances Samaniego
P.O. Box 94689
Seattle, WA 98124-4689
There are four documents that relate to the proposed rules:
- FAS Encampment Removal Rule. This rule describes how and when the City will remove encampments. Previously, language on removing encampments was a part the Multi-Department Administrative Rule.
- Multi-Department Administrative Rule. This rule harmonizes the administrative process by which individuals may be excluded from City property and requires City departments to follow the FAS Encampment Removal Rule (above) when removing an encampment. The only significant change to this rule compared to the existing one is that the encampment removal provisions are carved off into the separate FAS Encampment Removal Rule for administrative convenience.
- A Decision of Non-Significance and associated SEPA checklist. These documents are presented consistent with the State Environmental Policy Act.
- Notice of Proposed Repeal of Multi-Departmental Administrative Rule. A fourth document relates to the proposed repeal of the existing 2008 rule, MDAR 08-01.
We are compiling a list of FAS' director's rules and will add to this list soon.