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Activists push new initiative to clear homeless encampments in Seattle

Randy Mancini 24 Apr 3
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 06: People sleep outside on a sidewalk on April 6, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The City of Seattle and King County are in the process of minimizing the concentration of people living in shelters in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, particularly for people experiencing homelessness and those who cannot safely quarantine in their own homes. They're temporarily adding over a thousand beds in other places and increasing the distance of all beds between people. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WA – APRIL 06: People sleep outside on a sidewalk on April 6, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Seattle activists proposed a new initiative which would end homeless encampments and fund housing for those affected.

The new measure dubbed ”Compassion Seattle” would require the city to ensure that parks, playgrounds and other public spaces be clear of encampments.

Our charter amendment prioritizes behavioral health support services for those who are experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Learn more about the amendment. https://t.co/k8Q5wBUGvr pic.twitter.com/n8AFRnhJGX

— Compassion Seattle (@SEACompassion) April 2, 2021

Under the plan, Seattle would also be required to provide easy access to substance abuse services and deploy behavioral health rapid response teams as possible alternatives to law enforcement.

Proponents of the bill said it would end the fight over what to do with the homeless in the city.

“Well I think this will end the political infighting and some of the dysfunction and disagreement on the approach,” Jon Scholes, CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association said. “Because this sets forward what we believe the approach needs to be, that has been proven to work that will get people inside.”

Activists need a little over 33,000 registered voters to sign the petition for the measure to make it onto the November ballot.

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