Homeless tent city outside King Co. building closing

KING 5's Ted Land reports.

SEATTLE -- A visible reminder of Seattle's homeless problem is about to go away. The tent city outside the King County building in downtown Seattle is closing, along with another nearby tent community.

“We have to pack up and be out of here by Monday,” said Susan Padgett, who is among roughly two hundred people sleeping outside the building most nights.

Their roughly five-month demonstration is ending. The county, the city, SHARE, and a group of non-profits recently signed an agreement, which would close the county building camp and a nearby community about a block away. The county will provide $50,000 to fund shelters and the city will allow SHARE quicker access to hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to shelter the homeless.

They ran out of county funding last spring and had to close several shelters. They decided to pitch tents and unroll sleeping bags at the county building as a protest of sorts.

“This is huge, we're very excited,” said Stu Tanquist, a board member of SHARE, the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, a self-organized group of homeless people who run tent camps and shelters throughout the county.

“This has been a long struggle, a long fight to get the political financial support so we can get those shelters open, so these people aren't outside this winter,” said Tanquist.

Some campers will move to shelters. Others, like Padgett, will relocate to other tent camps.

“I just prefer the outside, I don't like being told when I have to get up, when I have to go to bed,” she said.

The county building camp should be cleared by the time people head back to work on Tuesday following the Labor Day weekend.

Copyright 2016 KING


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