Tacoma considers plan to shorten time homeless can camp in cars

By: KIRO 7 News Staff

Updated:

TACOMA, Wash. - A new ordinance being considered in Tacoma would shorten the amount of time homeless people would be able to camp in cars or RVs on city streets.

The proposal is somewhat of a reversal for the city.

Last year, the Tacoma City Council extended the amount of time someone could live in their car in one location from 24 hours to seven days.

The idea was to give city workers more time to try to connect homeless people with social services.

But since then, according to the new ordinance, the homeless problem has become what’s described as a public health emergency.


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A mitigation site opened last month where homeless people were allowed to set up tents under a larger tent with some amenities such as running water, showers and laundry.

But the new ordinance would pertain specifically to the homeless living in vehicles and the unsanitary conditions often found in or around the vehicles, such as garbage and rotten food, rodents and human and animal waste.

Another issue the city has found with people living in vehicles is a lack of proper food storage or clean dishes, which can lead to the spread of food-borne illnesses.

The hope is that dropping the time a car can stay parked in one location from seven to three days will eliminate some of that problem.

The City Council considering the ordinance at its meeting Tuesday night.
 

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