A sweep in the Central District: Pratt Park next for city clearance

(Image: City of Seattle)

The City of Seattle has announced it will remove any remaining tents and personal items from a Central District park Thursday marking the latest public space to be cleared in a series of encampment sweeps across the reopening city.

The notice at Pratt Park comes due to an “encampment impeding public park use,” a Seattle Parks representative tells CHS.

“On June 15, Seattle Parks and Recreation staff posted a notice that any remaining or abandoned belongings, must be removed by, June 17,” the statement reads. “Seattle Parks and Recreation staff identified approximately 5 tents with in the park and the HOPE Team and outreach providers identified 3 individuals currently residing at the location. As of this morning, none of the individuals have accepted referrals to shelter.” Continue reading

Amid city’s sweeps and a continuing crisis, Seattle mayoral candidates on homelessness: Guaranteed basic income, more public housing, ’emergency’ rental assistance, and ‘Compassion Seattle’

Guaranteed basic income for 16,000 Seattle families. A new income tax to fund a new housing Public Development Authority. An expansion of emergency rental assistance. Juicing federal dollars for all their worth.

These were just a few of the solutions floated by Seattle top mayoral candidates at a forum on the homelessness crisis last week hosted by We Are In, a local advocacy organization.

“Compassion Seattle”
One of the central questions of this race is where the candidates stand on a proposed new amendment to the city charter to spend more money on housing and public services and require that public spaces like parks be kept clear of homeless encampments.

Former Seattle City Council president Bruce Harrell said he supports it, but concedes it isn’t perfect. SEED Seattle’s Lance Randall said there are “a lot of things that need to be worked out,” but notes it puts pressure on city leaders to act.

On the other side, Capitol Hill architect Andrew Grant Houston said he was “vehemently” opposed to the amendment, saying “I am not interested in an attempt to legalize sweeps” and that the campaign in favor of it, “Compassion Seattle,” did not consult the Lived Experience Coalition, which is made up of homeless and formerly homeless people. Continue reading

Latest Capitol Hill homeless sweep clears Williams Place Park

(Image: @parkupine via Instagram)

Capitol Hill’s tiny Williams Place Park was the latest public space to be cleared of tents and personal belongings as homeless encampment sweeps continue in Seattle.

The treed square at 15th and John was swept Thursday, Seattle Parks confirms. The park will now be closed through June 17th “in order for Parks and Recreation staff to address any damage to the park and reestablish vegetation,” a spokesperson tells CHS.

Thursday’s clearance follows a mid-May sweep of Broadway Hill Park and a much larger clearance effort in April at Miller Playfield as the nearby Meany Middle School prepared to welcome students back for in-person learning after months of at-home instruction during the COVID-19 crisis. Continue reading

When will Capitol Hill finally get new street sinks?

A pandemic has come and nearly gone and Seattle has finally put some cash behind simple but ingenious solutions to help people keep their hands clean in the city.

Seattle Public Utilities this week announced it will split $100,000 from the Seattle Water and Waste Innovation Fund for grants to power two solutions for public hand washing stations in the city.

The Real Change and Clean Hands Collective “Street Sinks” project will receive $60,000 “to implement its street sinks model in areas where they are most needed: near encampments, food distribution locations, and recreation and public gathering places. Real Change newspaper vendors will help construct and maintain the sinks,” SPU said. Continue reading

13 things CHS heard at Thursday’s mayoral forum on homelessness

Seattle’s longest running crisis is homelessness, with the city issuing a state of emergency back in 2015. King County’s annual point-in-time count continued to show a persistent homelessness crisis last year with 11,751 individuals experiencing homelessness on one night in late January 2020, a 5% increase from the previous year but still below the 12,112 counted in 2018. Among those, 53% were sheltered and 47% unsheltered, the same as 2017 and 2019.

This was the context for a Thursday afternoon forum with seven of the candidates to be Seattle’s next mayor hosted by Resolution to End Homelessness. All of the participating candidates said in a Wednesday forum that the biggest issue facing the city was some variation of homelessness, affordability, and inequity.

Here are 13 things CHS heard at Thursday’s mayoral forum on homelessness: Continue reading

Broadway Hill sweep: Two referrals to a ‘shelter surge’ hotel, five ‘voluntarily relocated,’ and a bin of personal belongings

City crews are at work in Capitol Hill’s tiny Broadway Hill Park after Wednesday morning’s deadline for removing personal property from the public greenspace.

Seattle Parks and the Human Services Department say two people living in the park were referred to shelter at the Executive Hotel Pacific, one of the city-leased in a “shelter surge” effort to move more people out of camps as COVID-19 slows. One of the referrals came Wednesday morning, the city says, while five others “voluntarily relocated out of the park.” Continue reading

Broadway Hill Park next in ongoing Seattle homeless encampment sweeps — UPDATE

Broadway Hill Park is slated to be the next public space on Capitol Hill to be cleared of homeless encampments.

Advocates say the park at Federal and Republican amid townhomes, apartment buildings, and single family homes is one of a handful of spaces across Seattle set for sweeps this week.

A Seattle Parks representative said more information was coming including information from the Human Services Department regarding shelter referrals.

UPDATE 5:08 PM: Seattle Parks says the sweep is needed because of concerns about recent fires.

“After a series of fires in the park, the City has requested that outreach efforts at Broadway Hill Park intensify this week with the goal of getting all who are onsite situated into shelter and on a path towards a permanent housing solution,” the parks department statement reads.

Continue reading

City makes $150K available for Seattle ‘community-driven’ mutual aid efforts

(Image: SPU)

The money is coming late in the COVID-19 crisis but Seattle Public Utilities is moving forward with a funding opportunity to power community “mutual aid” efforts.

SPU is describing the program as “a one-time funding opportunity” for community groups or projects “that make hygiene resources more accessible to the public, reduce illegal dumping and litter, and avoid the wasting of food and other materials.”

  • Innovation Area 1: Waste prevention solutions focused on food and other materials. Examples include sharing, reusing repairing, and repurposing.
  • Innovation Area 2: Hand hygiene and water access solutions, which may include options for accessing safe drinking water, for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Continue reading

‘Moving day’ — Residents move on as Miller Park cleared after months of homeless camping — UPDATE

With reporting and photographs by Alex Garland

With help from community and neighbors, plus a contingent of city workers and police, a final group of campers moved off of the grounds of the Miller Park playfield and community center as a Friday morning deadline for a sweep and clearance came and went.

Some people who left Friday had been living at Miller since the height of pandemic but Monday’s planned resumption of in-person classes at the adjacent Meany Middle School created a public safety and health situation that city officials said could not be allowed.

One person living at Miller said he had been camping there for seven months but had only been contacted by outreach workers for shelter two weeks ago. Continue reading

City posts sweep notice at Miller Park encampments — UPDATE

Thanks to reader Chris for the picture

The city has posted notice it intends to sweep Miller Park encampments as early as Friday morning.

Required notices ordering the removal of personal property were posted Wednesday at the Capitol Hill playfield, community center, and school campus. The order provides an “as of” date and time of Friday, April 16th at 9 AM for the.

The date comes five months to the day of the notice to clear another major flashpoint in the city’s homelessness crisis at the camps in Cal Anderson. With activists and protesters joining the camp area at Cal Anderson last December and amid a brief and unsuccessful court battle to stop the process, Seattle Police waited two extra days before leading the sweep so Seattle Parks and city clean-up crews could enter the park.

This time at Miller there is no legal fight for a temporary restraining order and the deadline is driven by the the pandemic-reshaped school year. Monday, students are slated to return for in-person instruction at Seattle’s public middle and high schools, including Meany Middle School on the Miller campus. Continue reading