The Tacoma City mayor proposed declaring a state of emergency on homelessness in the city.
“It is something that is happening in every single neighborhood, and the reality of homeless is it’s not a new issue, but it becomes a new issue when it becomes visible,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland.
Strickland introduced the resolution at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which allows the city to explore how to help the homeless population.
“This is going to require us to take an approach we haven’t taken before," said Strickland. “We want to form a cross function team to explore what it takes to declare an emergency. We may have the ability to waive procurement rules.”
Strickland also said the city would explore the idea of a temporary tent city or a camp, and she wants city leaders to explore more affordable housing options. She’s asked the acting city manager to come up with a plan by Friday.
"The message we want to send is that help is available. We have to figure out what that means. We don’t have an answer to, ‘Where do I go next?’" said Strickland.
This announcement comes after the City cleared out what had become known as the largest homeless encampment in Tacoma, the Tacoma Jungle. At one point, more than 100 people were living underneath the Interstate 5/Interstate 705 corridor.