Puyallup shelter proposal ignites concerns about homeless

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

PUYALLUP, Wash. – At the top of Tuesday night’s city council agenda was a request to add an item. Councilmembers Julie Door and Heather Shadko wanted to discuss the possibility of using city facilities for shelter during inclement weather.

The conversation did not go far because the backlash was swift.

On Clean Up Puyallup’s Facebook Page, it warned of an “urgent meeting” and asked people to attend. The post went on to read, “this will mean Puyallup will have more homeless coming into the downtown core.”

People did line up to talk about it during public comment at Tuesday’s meeting. But first, Councilmember Door told the room that the intent was to raise the issue for a policy discussion.

“I do not believe at this point a thoughtful conversation can be had on the topic. I think there is a lot of emotions surrounding this,” said Door.

Shakado said she first brought the issue up when a windstorm was in the forecast to ask what policy they had, and she said she was told that the city did not have a policy. 

“This wasn’t a homeless discussion. We were looking to have a community discussion. But I agree with Councilmember Door that we can’t have a civil discussion on this now and we will pull it,” said Shakado.

Even though the topic was off the table, people still lined up to talk.

One resident said, “expanding to the use of city facilities is unwise and unwarranted.”

“Please put yourself in our shoes when you make a decision, if you want to use a public facility consider using one near your home near your neighborhood,” added another resident.

Copyright 2016 KING


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