EDMONDS, Wash. — In Edmonds, if a houseless person refuses services, there’s not much police can do. Members of city council are now considering a new ordinance that, if passed, would make that refusal a crime. Violators could be punished with a $1,000 fine and imprisonment of up to 90 days.
City council member Will Chen supports the ordinance.
“Unlawful occupancy of public land or property should apply to everybody, not just the less fortunate people,” said Chen. “For unhoused individuals, help, including food, medical assistance, temporary housing must be offered.”
According to city documents, if passed, the new ordinance would create a new “enforcement mechanism when an unhoused individual unlawfully occupies public property.”