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Seattle City Council says no jungle sweeps without offers of real help

caption: A tiny house near I-5 is part of the 3 mile homeless encampment known as the Jungle.
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A tiny house near I-5 is part of the 3 mile homeless encampment known as the Jungle.

The Seattle City Council has passed a resolution refining the mayor’s plan to sweep the Jungle in the wake of criticism. The council’s new resolution is designed to provide jungle residents with some protection from eviction. It follows a week where the council and mayor sometimes seemed at odds over the best approach.


Basically, the resolution says: Nobody gets swept unless we make them a meaningful offer of help.

A lot comes down to how you interpret that phrase. What does it mean to make a meaningful offer of help?

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw suggested: there’s no way we can offer sufficient help unless our shelter system gets better.

Bagshaw: “There’s real concern about the quality of shelter that’s available.”

Bagshaw wants Seattle to open a 24 hour shelter, 7 days a week.

You could view the resolution, which she sponsored, as a declaration of the rights of Jungle residents.

But Councilmember Lisa Herbold still isn’t convinced the resolution fully defined what it means to make a meaningful offer.

Herbold: “Do these offers need to include a person’s household, or is it considered appropriate to ask a person to stay in a shelter without their partners? I think those are really, really important issues that we need to work on moving forward."

But she voted for it anyway, along with everybody else.

The council asked the mayor to tell them three days before conducting any sweeps.

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