In Seattle and King County, homelessness is a state of emergency. The city council is considering a new “head tax” on business to help fund responses to the emergency. But critics say a lot of money has already been spent, without much success.
Against this backdrop, the Seattle University School of Law is releasing six new reports about homelessness. The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project has created 10 previous reports, each time responding to community partners asking for more information. Law school students research the issue, interviewing stakeholders and searching for relevant cases.
The new reports address issues like: safe parking for vehicle residency, faith-based solutions, begging restrictions, tent encampments and auxiliary dwelling units in homeowners’ backyards.
We talked with Sara Rankin, the director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, about another report. It’s titled, “What to Expect When You Are Arrested.” Rankin says homeless people are often arrested, and their public defenders are likely to be overworked. She hopes the report will be used as a guide to educate homeless people as they move through the criminal justice system.