Yesterday, King County released a report with statistics from its annual “Point in Time” count of homeless people living in the county. The 140-page report is an ocean of data and charts. But if you look closely, you can see the story of what’s happening to the homeless population — as well as the city and county’s response.
This afternoon the City Council resolved its stalemate and passed a compromise “head tax.” It imposes an annual tax of $275 per full-time employee (or full-time equivalent) on businesses making $20 million or more in revenues per year in Seattle.
Earlier this week, Council member Kshama Sawant held a discussion in her committee to push for some revisions in how the city reports on scheduled encampment cleanups.
This evening Council member Kshama Sawant held a special meeting (video) of her Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee. According to the agenda, the meeting was to discuss “Human Service Department (HSD) funding cuts to the women’s homeless service programs operated by the Women’s Housing, Equality, and Enhancement League (WHEEL) and the Women’s Referral Center.” And it was, but not quite the way you’d expect.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez ruled against the ACLU on two motions it had filed in its case against the city and WSDOT over the ongoing “sweeps” of unsanctioned homeless encampments.
Local media have been buzzing this week with reports that Council member Mike O’Brien would introduce a law that relaxes parking restrictions for homeless people using a vehicle (including cars and RVs) for shelter. This afternoon, O’Brien did just that.
Welcome to the weekend!
It looks to be a busy week, as the Council simultaneously kicks off the 2017–2018 budget development process and wraps up work on everything else.
The pending secure scheduling ordinance, and a move to lower speed limits, highlight today’s news.
Filed under “well that didn’t take long…”
This morning I posted a piece on the Council’s new strategy of defining a “cause of action” for people suing the city in order to drive police accountability. At the end of the article I suggested that the Council might see fit to use the same approach to stop homeless sweeps.
This afternoon, five groups who advocate for the homeless proposed exactly that — and much more.