The City of Redmond is expected to vote next month on a controversial ordinance that would allow homeless encampments to exist year round in one neighborhood.
Two homeless encampments already exist in Redmond but this ordinance would extend the amount of time they're allowed to exist from four months to six months out of the year. It would also allow the camps to use the same permit to stay in Redmond for the next five years.
According to a December Redmond Planning Commission report the idea behind the ordinance is to "reduce the financial and logistical burdens" on those hosting the homeless.
But for residents in the neighborhood that would host homeless camps, Education Hill, the ordinance means year-round there would be a homeless camp in one area of Redmond.
Currently in Redmond there are two sites that host the homeless, Redwood Family Church and St. Jude Parish. They're about about a mile from each other.
Last month, a half a dozen residents made their concerns known to the Redmond City Council. There was no scheduled item on the agenda to discuss the proposal but residents anticipating an eventual vote made statements during the public comment portion of the Redmond City Council's March 15th meeting.
Many expressed fear that allowing the encampments to exist for an extended period of time would bring crime to the area and attract homeless from other communities to Redmond.
"I think we need to be more proactive if we are are going to have this compassion of doubling the amount of time that we are putting tent cities in our neighbor in a small area of all of Redmond, " said Brian Hansford, an Education Hill resident.
"It is absurd to entertain this idea when many of own Redmond residents are struggling with shelter food and health care," said Paige Norman who's lived in the Education Hill neighborhood for 30 years.
According to the City of Redmond, the city council will take public comment on the issue April 5th and study the issue April 12th. A spokesperson with the city says the earliest the council could vote on the issue is April 19th.