Seattle City Council rejects plan to legalize tent cities

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by Linda Brill / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

The Seattle City Council on Monday rejected a plan to legalize tent cities on private or public land.

Seattle City Council Member Nick Licata sponsored the legislation saying "If you give people a place to sleep at night and give them services, they will come."

But, the vote was five to four against the ordinance, with Council Member Tom Rasmussen explaining, "We have been trying stop-gap measures since I came to the council and they don't work."

Many council members called the measure a partial solution that has failed in other cities and would perpetuate homelessness.

Nearly 100 campers at Nickelsville will be forced to move out on September 1.

So far, the Seattle Union Gospel Mission has relocated 17 of them.

"They've helped 17 families out of Nickelsville and relocated them and for that we're grateful," says a newly relocated Nickelsville resident who is called Mama Duce.

The Union Gospel Mission also provides emergency services, addiction recovery, transitional housing, domestic violence shelter.

Mama Duce is on a savings and payment plan.  In a year, she is expected to assume the $800 rent for her Burien apartment.

"Within a years time we should be able to have the money for rent and a deposit, for us to be on our own."

The city will give Union Gospel Mission $500,000 for services and relocation fees for Nickelsville residents.

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