City crews delivered cinder blocks to Nickelsville last week to help with the rat problem. But the blocks didn't help in the coming storm that turned the homeless camp into a human swamp.
"We've been asking for water and electrical since the day we arrived,” said Steve Westfall.
Nickelsville had asked months ago for help. They want to be connected to the city's water and sewerage system. They want the city's electrical power to run into the camp.
The answer has been no.
"We still aren’t recognized as a homeless camp. We're technically squatters,” said Westfall.
When the storm hit Nickelsville, where were the police, fire, social services? They didn’t come.
Here's the flip side: Although the homeless campers have cell phones and laptops, they didn’t call the city's Utilities Operations Center for help.
City workers came after the fact, late Tuesday morning, admits Mayor Mike McGinn. He wants Nickelsville to move to an indoor, permanent location.
“Providing alternative services and giving people alternatives so they can have a safe place to stay,” said McGinn
Keep in mind, the residents of Nickelsville choose to be self managed....and chose the location. And many reject a city run shelter.
"I don’t want to go to one of those shelters down there … drugs, alcohol, street crime,” said Westfall.
Lawmakers and homeless advocates have worked for years to find a solution. They say, putting money and infrastructure into Nickelsville would make the camp legitimate and permanent and that's not the direction the city wants to take.
"You have to remember, if we put them in a place with legal restrictions of any sort, the city will be sued and they'll be forced out anyhow,” said Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata.
The only real solution is permanent housing and that’s a long way away.
The City of Seattle said Tuesday there is an immediate need for the following: Firewood, gasoline (for generators), blankets, sleeping bags, tarps, socks and water proof boots, flashlights and batteries, rope, nails, hammers and duct tape, access to industrial size washer and dryer . Monetary donations used for purchasing propane, servicing porta potties and garbage pickup,
Items can be dropped off at Nickelsville at 7116 Marginal Way SW at 2nd Ave SW and W Marginal Way SW.