Seattle's task force on homeless encampment cleanup meets for first time

A new Seattle task force is searching for a way to clean up Seattle's homeless camps with consistency and compassion.

SEATTLE - Searching for a way to clean up Seattle's homeless camps with consistency and compassion.  That's the challenge posed to a new task force that met for the first time Wednesday at city hall.

Mayor Ed Murray revealed the full list of task force participants, along with their plan to meet once a week starting on August 31st.

They've been given until the end of September to come up with a recommended list of protocols and policies on exactly how the city should go about cleaning up homeless encampments throughout Seattle.

Previous sweeps of unauthorized encampments have been criticized for the way in which they were conducted.

"It was wrong.  Because if I rented a house and I'm fixing to move out, the person who owns the house would give me 30 days to move my stuff out, instead of telling me you've got to move out and then throwing all my stuff on the sidewalk, " said a man now living at an encampment on Airport Way South.  "That's not cool."

The mayor has said there is an urgent need for change when it comes to the way in which the city cleans up homeless encampments.

"It is our responsibility to ensure these cleanups are done right and done in a way that serves the needs of people living in these areas who are enduring extremely difficult circumstances," he said in a statement on August 19th, "We recognize the protocol under which cleanups are conducted needs both improvement and clarity."

Murray said reports from some of the encampments have indicated a need for better coordination among everyone involved in the camp cleanups, along with intensive outreach before, during, and after the sweeps.

The city's newly hired Director of Homelessness was also present at Wednesday's meeting, though he didn't take part in the task force's conversation.

The task force is co-chaired by Sally Clark and David Moseley.

Copyright 2016 KING


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