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City of Olympia to sweep homeless encampment near capitol grounds Wednesday

A homeless camp will be swept from an area near the state capitol in Olympia even though the city's shelter system lacks the space to accommodate more people.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A homeless camp will be swept from an area near the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday following a homicide and three shootings linked to the encampment.

Nearby homeowners have been calling for the city of Olympia to take action on the camp for months. The city previously put in toilets, a handwashing station and dumpsters at the encampment.

However, following a homicide linked back to the area, city officials decided it was safer to shut the camp down.

"In this particular instance, at this time, they have gotten to the point it's safer to close the camp than to try to continue to support it," said Olympia Assistant City Manager Keith Stahly.

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Following the expiration of Gov. Jay Inslee's eviction moratorium, the city can now clear the private property the camp is located on. However, the city knows that won't completely solve the problem.

"That's the unfortunate thing about where we are right now… there really isn't a place for people to go," said Stahly. 

Spaces are completely reserved at the city's soon-to-open shelter and affordable housing facility, so officials are putting a call out for donations.

"Survival supplies are always welcome things like sleeping bags, warm clothes, shelter tents, tarps," explained Stahly.

City officials were reaching out to people in the camp as early as last week to try and connect them with resources.

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