Nickelsville asks for more time

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

SEATTLE —

Residents of the tent camp called Nickelsville want more time to stay together as a homeless community.

A majority of Seattle's City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn have agreed the camp has got to go by Sept. 1.

More than 100 people have been living illegally in tents and sheds on city property along West Marginal Way for two years.

One resident, Trace DeGarmo, asked council members this afternoon to allow Nickelsville residents to move to two sites, where up to 200 people could camp for up to two years. He suggested that a church or religious group could control and monitor those sites.

Most of Seattle's City Councilmembers don't believe living outside in tents is the best way to deal with homelessness. They are willing to invest up to a half-million dollars in more long term, stable housing. No one has indicated yet what the options could be.

City leaders have been brainstorming with social service agencies for ideas.

Mike Johnson of the Union Gospel Mission says renting apartments might be one solution. Another could be placing some of the homeless in drug or alcohol treatment programs if treatment is needed. Facilities like the Aloha Inn can offer transitional housing.

 Some of Nickelsville residents could even be referred to other tent cities. Johnson said there are at least three others in the Seattle area.