Sixty-six names were read aloud — the names of the homeless people who have died on the streets of King County this year, according to an activist group that tracks homeless deaths.
Activists staged a “die-in” at Seattle City Hall’s lobby Thursday morning, representing the homeless people who have died on King County’s streets this year.
After Wednesday’s City Council hearing on controversial “sweeps” of unauthorized homeless camps in the city, and spending the night in tents outside City Hall, activists and people without homes gathered in the lobby.
Sixty-six names were read aloud — the names of the homeless people who have died on the streets of King County this year, according to Women in Black, an activist group that tracks and memorializes homeless deaths in the area.
Most of the activists had signs with names of homeless who have died this year. As the names and sites of death were called out during the reading of a poem, “Fallen Silent,” the person holding the corresponding sign would lie down.
The protesters intended to remain prone in the lobby until City Hall workers arrived and be forced to step over them, activists said. Some fell asleep, and a few began to snore. They left about 8:30 a.m.
Crowds packed City Council chambers on Wednesday during a budget hearing to protest the eviction of homeless from unauthorized camps, despite officials’ argument that some camps are a danger to the public and the inhabitants.
Supporters of the city’s tent-camp-removal policies were significantly outnumbered at the hearing.
Earlier this year, the city launched its Navigation Team, made up of outreach workers and police officers who go to the camps to offer services and act as liaisons to camp residents when a removal is deemed necessary. Campers are given at least 72 hours’ notice if a site is designated for cleanup.
In addition to cleanups, the Navigation Team ‘made more than 5,800 contacts with people living in homeless encampments between February and late last month, according to data provided by the city to The Seattle Times. At least 581 people accepted referrals to safe-shelter spaces, and 946 people accepted some form of service or help.
In that same period, the team removed 143 camps, ranging from a single tent blocking a sidewalk to those with several dozen tents and structures.
Information from The Seattle Times archives was used in this report. Times reporter Vianna Davila contributed to this report.