Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said he wants a monitor to ensure that extensive outreach is provided to homeless people in the three days before the cleanup and that outreach workers are on the scene when cleanups begin.
Mayor Ed Murray announced Friday he will increase monitoring of how the city clears homeless encampments and require outreach workers to be on the scene at the beginning of each sweep.
Murray’s announcement followed a Seattle Times story, posted online Friday, documenting miscommunications among different agencies that left homeless residents facing unpredictable cleanups. Murray said he would send a representative of the city’s Office for Civil Rights to monitor each sweep, ensure that extensive outreach is provided in the three days before the cleanup and require outreach workers to be on scene when cleanups begin.
“It is our responsibility to ensure these cleanups are done right and done in a way that serves the needs of people living in these areas, who are enduring extremely difficult circumstances,” Murray said in a statement. “We recognize the protocol under which cleanups are conducted needs both improvement and clarity.”
Murray recently announced he would develop a task force to review city protocols on homeless-camp cleanups. On Friday, he said he would invite the state Department of Transportation to join the task force. Many of the largest homeless encampments are on DOT properties around freeways.
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Murray said initial members of the task force will include the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Emergency Service Center and the SODO Business Improvement Area.