Looking to get around court rulings on homelessness, Washington cities may offer shelter, then crack down

This is one of the new  Pallet shelters in Seattle. The 64-square-foot prefabricated structure is part of Junction Point Shelter, run by Catholic Community Services, in Interbay/Lower Queen Anne. A recent bill in the state Legislature would have more than doubled the number of shelter beds like these in Washington — but cities could crack down on homeless people who didn’t agree to move into them. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Federal courts have recently ruled that penalizing people for sleeping outside when there is no available shelter is unconstitutional. The decisions come just as more homeless encampments spring up, driven in part by the pandemic.

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