The UW president said Wednesday that the university is working toward obtaining a permit from the city to host the encampment.
After hundreds of supporters came forward, the University of Washington is moving forward with plans to host a tent city for homeless people on its Seattle campus next year, the school’s president said.
President Ana Mari Cauce, who presented the idea in March, said Wednesday in a message to the UW community the school is working toward obtaining a permit from the city and planning to host the encampment for three months in early 2017.
The decision comes after officials fielded feedback from more than 1,000 people in emails and town-hall meetings, she said.
“By a 2-to-1 margin, responses and attendees favored hosting,” Cauce said. “Faculty and departments have expressed eagerness to incorporate service learning into curricula, and local elected officials and community leaders also support the effort.”
Stakeholders prefer a parking lot on Northeast Pacific Street, on the west side of campus, Cauce said. Specifics on the plan to host about 100 people are not finalized.
For that space, she said the school is considering hosting the community known as Tent City 3, an authorized encampment operated by the nonprofit Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) and its ally organization, WHEEL. That tent city is now at a church across Northeast 45th Street from campus.
“They have literally been across the street from us this spring … providing safe, secure housing to individuals and families,” Cauce said.
SHARE/WHEEL says residents of its spaces must follow a code of conduct that prohibits weapons, violence, drugs and alcohol — a factor Cauce noted in the letter.
According to the region’s annual One Night Count, this year’s estimate of people without shelter showed a 19 percent increase over last year, at more than 4,500 people. Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine proclaimed states of emergency over homelessness in November.
In her message, Cauce said concerns and trepidation about the encampment on campus are fair and expected.
“I only ask that we approach hosting with open minds and take this opportunity to learn from the experiences of our neighbors,” she said.