As cities across the nation try to address the issue of homelessness, Seattle is considering an agenda more progressive than most. Imagine permanent homeless camps spread about the city – even in residential areas – and you’ve just about got the gist of it.
City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, an extreme liberal, is the one responsible for crafting Council Bill 119656. The piece of legislation, if passed, would allow homeless camps “on all publicly owned or private property within the City of Seattle.” Currently, the city ordinance only permits three encampment sites, but this bill would tremendously increase that to 40. It would also authorize homeless camps “on any property owned or controlled by a religious organization without approval of a permit under the Seattle Land Use Code.”
According to the paperwork, the city currently spends approximately $390,000 per encampment. The document continued, “Of the approved appropriations in the 2019 Adopted Budget, approximately $4.8 million is allocated for transitional encampment.” This bold plan would encourage even more displaced people to flock to the Emerald City.
Some of the other requirements of the proposed legislation include:
- There must be 100 square feet of land per occupant and up to 100 occupants are allowed.
- Encampments need only to be 25 feet away from any residentially zoned lot (that’s approximately the same distance smokers need to stay back from a building).
- Allow unlimited renewals of the one-year permits.
Setting up housing and encouraging more transients into the city isn’t the answer. We’ve already seen a substantial increase in health-related problems from the homeless and from illegal immigrants. “Re-emerging are medieval diseases – typhus and typhoid fever, borne by fleas, body lice, and feces – tuberculosis, and staph, and public health officials are losing their collective minds,” Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill wrote about the similar situation in California.
Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) blamed a lot of the city’s homelessness problem on the politicians and regulations:
“You have the largest regulations, the largest rent numbers, and subsequently the largest number of people who can’t afford the rent. But you have to recognize that as a society, we have done something that is almost unpardonable. Back in the 80s, in our attempt to become compassionate, we took mentally ill people and tossed them out on the street.”
Allowing a camp for displaced individuals on public or private land is a bit of an oxymoron. Carson explained:
“When you tell people this is a public space, therefore you can camp here, you can do whatever you want here, that’s not what a public space is. A public space is supposed to be available for the public. That means for all of the public, not for a group of people to come squat on and make everyone feel uncomfortable.”
Keep in mind that the residents who may be forced to have a homeless camp with up to 100 people only 25 feet away from their front door will have no say if this ordinance is passed. At this time, there is no opportunity for discussion or complaint, no plans to hold a city informational meeting for the public. LN’s Andrew Moran sums up the mentality of the Seattle city council rather well: “Kshama Sawant and her socialist cohorts are waging a war on capitalism, the very model that permits politicians to experiment with the latest progressive boondoggle.”
Read more from Kelli Ballard.