Sawant: Move money from Seattle's Navigation Team to build more tiny houses

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant wants to move funding from the city's Navigation Team for the homeless to build more tiny houses instead.

The city’s Navigation Team, which is a combination of outreach workers and specially trained Seattle police officers, was formed to connect the homeless with housing and resources.  The team is there when homeless camps are cleared from an area.

But Sawant says the team is not working and the money would be better spent on other services for the homeless.  She says she wants to do away with sweeps of unsanctioned homeless camps.

Currently, there are nine tiny house villages around the city.  Sawant wants 40.

Thursday night, there was a public hearing on the issues.

The backers of tiny house villages say they're cost effective and the best way to move people into housing and into jobs.

"Not only are we able to house and keep them out of the cold, but also transitioning to living wage jobs,” said Rev. Lawrence Willis of True Vine Of Holiness Missionary Baptist Church.

Mayor Jenny Durkan wants to keep the Navigation Team.  She added more money to it as part of her more than $100 million budget proposal.

Money in the mayor's proposal also goes to the Human Services Department, enhanced shelters, permanent housing and sanctioned homeless camps.

A full vote on the budget is slated for November 25.

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