• Seattle's mayor calls for more homeless encampments

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    At the Pike Place Market we met a homeless man named Jason.

    He wouldn't share his last name, but said he sleeps in a doorway in the Denny Triangle.

    When we asked why nothe didn't try to get an apartment Jason said, “cause"I don't know. (Because) I choose to be homeless.”

    Mayor Ed Murray’s plan for more homeless encampments calls for three more tent city encampments like the current Nickelsville to be placed in industrial or commercial zones, not residential neighborhoods. We asked the mayor if that just perpetuates homelessness.

    “If you've not had a chance to actually spend time in an encampment on a winter day, much less a winter night, they're really difficult places to be, they're really difficult places to sleep,” Murray said.

    Residents of the new encampments would be assigned a city case manager to coordinate the services they need to get off the street. But that won’t always make a difference.

    “I don't like the shelters. You can catch things,” Jason said.

    At Nickelsville, we met another homeless man Alex Jacob and asked if people will take advantage of the city’s help.

    “Oh absolutely, absolutely,” he said. And will it get people out of homelessness? “I believe it will, yes, I do.”

    That's a belief Murray shared when we asked if he would ever be able to close a homeless encampment once it opens.

    “You know, yes," the mayor said. “I hope so, and I don't know how long that will take and I don't know if I will be mayor when that happens.”

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