homeless encampments | KNKX

homeless encampments

In this January 2020 file photo, tents are pictured inside a homeless encampment in Olympia.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Port of Olympia officials and Thurston County sheriff’s deputies displaced an estimated eight unsheltered people from a wooded Tumwater property on Monday, sparking objections from activists concerned “sweeps” of camps add pressure to a shelter system already strained by the coronavirus pandemic. 

A small homeless encampment sits under a bride in Seattle. Officials in the Puget Sound region are bracing for the novel coronavirus to hit homeless shelters and camps.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle officials continue to debate how to address homeless encampments during the pandemic. Seattle City Council members met Wednesday to consider legislation that would limit the city’s ability to remove encampments during COVID-19. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Tacoma has just over a month until its new law banning tents and shelters in city parks goes into effect. The city council recently passed the controversial ordinance, and some advocates are concerned the city won’t be prepared. 

Will James / KNKX

The City of Olympia, which saw a striking rise in visible homelessness last year, cleared away the last of its large unsanctioned downtown encampments Tuesday after resuming enforcement against illegal camping in late January.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials' plan to reduce the impacts of homelessness on public health began this month with the installation of a water line and portable toilets at one of the city's largest encampments.

But those amenities are scheduled to be on-site for six weeks at most. City leaders are still figuring out exactly what happens next. 

Will James / KNKX

Water and bathroom facilities are making life a little more bearable for people who live in one of Tacoma's largest encampments of homeless people.

City officials installed a water line and spigot last week, along with a row of portable toilets and sinks, near a few dozen tents and makeshift shelters in Tacoma's tideflats.

It represents a shift in the way Tacoma leaders manage a growing homeless population. Instead of forcing people off vacant lots like this, they say they are trying to make conditions cleaner and safer while they work toward longer-term solutions. 

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Tacoma’s City Attorney’s Office is exploring ways to hold the makers of opioid painkillers accountable for the city’s growing homelessness crisis.

The city is gathering information from law enforcement and other city officials to determine whether to move forward with a lawsuit against drug manufacturers.

Last January, the city of Everett filed a lawsuit against Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, alleging the company knowingly allowed pills to be funneled to the black market.

Will James / KNKX

Treating homeless people takes special training, but it's not something doctors, nurses, and other health care providers typically learn in school.

That's according to Lois Thetford, a physician's assistant with decades of experience working with the homeless. 

Derek McNeill

Filmmaker Derek McNeill started with a question: What circumstances lead people to the roving Seattle homeless camp known as Nickelsville?

In mid-2015, he started looking for an answer.

McNeill took his camera to a Nickelsville community on Dearborn Street, where residents opened up about their lives before and after they entered the cluster of tiny houses and tents near I-5. People like a soft-spoken former engineer defied easy stereotypes of Seattle's homeless.

Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Plans to end homelessness in Seattle rely in part on an innovative homeless shelter called the Navigation Center.

Seattle officials touted the center as a creative, modern response to the city's homelessness crisis and initially hoped to open it by December 31. This fall, they said it was on track to open in January.

Mourners say a prayer near the former homeless encampment known as "The Jungle" where Michael Taylor was fatally shot by a Seattle Police officer.
Simone Alicea / knkx

About a dozen people gathered Friday near the former site of a homeless camp known as The Jungle to remember Michael Taylor, a 44-year-old man who was fatally shot by a Seattle police officer near the camp.

The gathering was convened by the Women's Housing, Equality and Enhancement League, a non-profit comprising homeless and formerly homeless women.

Allene Steinberg is one of the Women in Black who perform these ministries when homeless people die.

Will James / knkx

Seattle lawmakers are stepping back to revise a law that would effectively allow people without homes to camp in some public spaces.

Since the City Council took up the proposal Sept. 6, a growing number of residents have expressed fear it would make tents fixed features of parks and sidewalks.

Americans are seeing more homeless camps, especially on the West Coast. A number of cities there have declared emergencies over the problem, and as they struggle to find solutions, an angry debate has broken out about how much tolerance should be shown to illegal camps that crop up in public spaces.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

The Seattle City Council is weighing new rights for homeless people living in camps along highways or deep in wooded parks.

On Tuesday, four council members introduced a law that would make it harder for city workers to disband the illegal clusters of tents and makeshift shelters that have grown as the region's homeless population has swelled.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Seattle has a new tool in its campaign to fight homelessness. The city has unveiled a mobile health care clinic that aims to meet people where they are and keep them from falling through any cracks in the system.   

Courtesy City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the plan to clear out the crime-ridden homeless encampment known as The Jungle is not an inhumane “sweep.” But he says it still needs to happen as quickly as possible.

“For folks who are in particularly dangerous situations, we should move them. When people are being raped, when people are setting themselves on fire, we’ve got to go in and do something,” Murray said, “and unless someone is engaged in breaking the law, such as a sexual assault, we’re not going to criminalize homelessness.”

Dean Rutz / AP Photo

Seattle Police are searching for at least two people in connection with the shooting at a homeless camp south of downtown. Five people were shot Tuesday night in the unauthorized encampment known as “The Jungle.”

Seattle Police say they have leads and are interviewing witnesses in the shooting that left two people dead and three others wounded. But the perpetrators are still at large.

At a news conference, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said authorities believe the shooting was related to low-level drug dealing.

Mike Stewart / Ballard Chamber of Commerce

Nickelsville, Seattle’s homeless encampment, is getting ready to move — and they’ve set a date. Nickelsville is targeting November 7 for the move. This time, the tent city will set up camp on Ballard’s main thoroughfare, Northwest Market Street.

Campers are in the process of formally applying for the city permit, and getting ready to vacate their current site on South Dearborn Street.

A McLin / Flickr

Residents of tent cities in Seattle are speaking out against a proposal from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to allow more such encampments.

Tent cities would be allowed to stay longer on land in King County under a proposal before the King County Council.

Under current law, the homeless encampments are required to move every three months. A King County ordinance would extend that to four months.