by: Chris Legeros Updated:SEATTLE —
More than 100 people living in the tent camp called Nickelsville will have to find new homes at the beginning of September.
For two years, the homeless men and women have been illegally camped on city property along West Marginal Way. Neighbors have complained about rat problems, flooding during the winter, and drug dealing. A construction manager with an office nearby said, "We never had these problems before the camp was here."
The majority of Seattle's City Council wrote a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn that said the camp was a threat to public health and safety. The mayor agreed to shut it down by September 1, and to evict those who remain on the property. The City Council is willing to spend up to a half million dollars to move Nickelsville residents to more stable, long-term housing. Council President Sally Clark said, "I think we should get serious about getting more people out of the camps and into permanent housing." But the plans to do that have not been worked out.
Nickelsville residents are skeptical. Michael Keever has been living at the camp for a year. He said if the city's offer of new housing was genuine then why isn't it offering that right now?