Seattle city council to vote on Nickelsville move-out money

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 23, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 24 at 6:05 PM

Seattle Council members will vote Monday on approving $500,000 to help the campers of the Nickelsville homeless encampment move out.

They must leave the city-owned property by September 1st in order for the property to be used for another project.

Residents in the Highland Park neighborhood worry the up to 200 campers will stay in a secluded green belt area near their homes. The local neighborhood watch group has already noticed an increase in overnight tents.

“It’s a good half a mile or so, it’s the largest green belt in the city,” said Gerry Vitello, a resident.

Natalie Van Gaver has experienced a homeless encampment near her home which impacted the area.

“Petty theft and situations where people are uncomfortable walking their dogs,” said Van Gaver.

Michael Keever, 53, lives in Nickelsville with his family. He believes his tight-knit, safe community will crumble when it’s forced to close.

“The vast majority will simply scatter to wherever they have to go. Everyone will be mixed out there doing what they have to do,” he said.

“I think a lot of them are going to gravitate towards this area,” said Vitello.

“I don’t know if there’s an overnight solution but they’re definitely a group that needs support,” said van Gaver.

Campers plan to be at Monday’s Seattle City Council meeting to voice their frustration. They believe the cost to closing their encampment will be much more than the half million dollars, they fear lives are at stake.

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