Marathon Council meeting on encampment removals ends in impasse, but hints at a better path

The City Council met for five and a half hours this afternoon. The official topic was a proposed bill that would codify restrictions on the removal of unsanctioned homeless encampments, and from time to time the bill garnered a mention or two.  In the end there were no votes today on amendments or on the bill itself, and for the most part things concluded right where they began. But there were the occasional nuggets of wisdom shared, and if you squinted you could see hints of a path to get the city to a better place in its attempts to …

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Editorial: here’s what the city should do about the Navigation Team

Yesterday afternoon’s Council committee hearing to review the most recent quarterly report for the Navigation Team was nothing short of a bloodbath. You can watch the video here, if you are so inclined, and read Erica Barnett’s summary. In a nutshell: the Human Services Department tried to put lipstick on a pig, obscuring the struggles that the Navigation Team faces. And the Council was having none of it. Prior to yesterday’s meeting, there were already some vocal critics of the Navigation Team, including Council members Sawant and Mosqueda, but the rest of the Council appeared to see the team as …

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Council hears quarterly report on the Navigation Team

This morning, the Human Services Department delivered its second-quarter report to the City Council on the Navigation Team. Last fall the Council placed a proviso on the team’s 2019 budget so that it must deliver a report each quarter in order to get the next quarter’s budget released and available to be spent. The Nav Team has been increasing the amount of metrics it tracks and produces, though quite frankly most of the numbers in the report (for January – March) are not terribly insightful — especially since its regular work was suspended for two weeks during the February winter …

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Assessing the city’s homelessness response

Yesterday Mayor Durkan, Interim Human Services Director Jason Johnson, and other city officials briefed the press on the Human Services Department’s (and the city’s) response to the homelessness crisis in 2018, in advance of releasing selected statistics to the public. In addition, HSD delivered its quarterly report to the City Council this morning on the performance of the Navigation Team. This follows a report from the City Auditor’s office earlier this month criticizing HSD and the Navigation Team for aspects of its response. Let’s dive in to the 2018 numbers.

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