EVERETT, Wash. — Everett’s City Council is looking to pass a law that could ban homeless encampments in a part of the city.
The so-called “no sit, no lie” ordinance would only affect a small portion of Everett. Should it pass, anyone sitting or lying along Smith Avenue, near the I-5 underpass, would be forced to go elsewhere.
Critics of the proposal said the ordinance would be a violation of human rights.
“These people have feelings,” said Penelope Protheroe of Angel Resource Connection. “They’re miserable and they’re suffering, so we’re kicking them when they’re down.”
If “no sit, no lie” is passed, Protheroe said she believed homeless people would simply pack up their stuff and head to Everett’s downtown corridor, causing greater problems.
“(They would be) in front of hundreds of businesses and houses, residential houses, instead of an industrial area, which is just a few businesses,” she told KIRO 7.
Yet, it’s concern about those businesses that have Everett lawmakers taking action.
Even in an industrial neighborhood like Smith Avenue, lawmakers said homeless people are causing major problems.
“There are many businesses that have come to us, talking about cleaning up waste and a lot of medical debris, needles, and all sorts of things out there,” said Everett City Council President Brenda Stonecipher.
If the “no sit, no lie” ordinance is approved, violators could be jailed up to three months and be slapped with hundreds of dollars’ worth of fines.
“There are a lot of business owners down there that are routinely the victims of criminal activity, so we’re trying to strike a balance and this seems like the way to do it,” Stonecipher added.
“No sit, no lie” is attached to plan to that will build 20 miniature houses for the homeless called pallet shelters, which is something that Protheroe said she favors.
Even then, though, she said those shelters would only house 30 people when hundreds of others would still be on the street in Everett.
She insisted the city needs to do more to help all the other homeless people still out there.
“(Nonprofits) are raising our hands saying, ‘we want to help, let’s get them the services they need.’”
Everett’s City Council will be voting on the “no sit, no lie” ordinance on Wednesday, March 17.