The Overcast: Seattle Considers How To Help People Living In Cars

Aug 11, 2017

The City of Seattle is once again considering how to help people living in their cars and motor homes.

To find out more about the debate over the city's latest moves, The Seattle Times City Hall reporter Dan Beekman asked his colleague Vernal Coleman, who covers homelessness issues, to break it down.  They spoke for "The Overcast", The Seattle Times weekly politics podcast recorded at KNKX.


This year's one-night count of unsheltered people found more than 2,300 people living in vehicles across King County. 

Last year, Mayor Ed Murray issued an emergency order to create "safe lots" where people could park their cars and have access to services. But the program collapsed because it was too expensive.

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien wants the city to reevaluate its ability to provide space for those living in their cars.

He  also unveiled a draft ordinance Thursday to institute a program that would bring services to those people, wherever they're parked. Participants in the program would also be "deprioritized" for enforcement of parking violations.

A few days before O'Brien outlined his official draft, an earlier draft of the ordinance was circulated before the council's human services committee could hear recommendations from a taskforce dedicated to the issue.

The early unofficial draft prompted a lot of comments from the public at Wednesday's committee meeting. O'Brien said some concerns have been addressed in the latest draft. But he still doesn't plan to officially introduce the ordinance this month.

The Overcast is The Seattle Times weekly politics podcast. You can find it on iTunes, Tunein, Sticher and SoundCloud.