The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to spend $500,000 to relocate residents of the south Seattle tent city called "Nickelsville." The council has given residents of Nickelsville until September 1, 2013 to move out or be evicted.
Nickelsville has been in its current location near the Port of Seattle for two years.
Council President Sally Clark explained the next steps at Monday's meeting. “This bill authorizes the Human Services Department to enter into a contract with a nonprofit organization to provide outreach, engagement, case management, shelter, housing and other services to immediately move campers who are currently at Nickelsville to appropriate housing, shelter and services."
The ordinance also declared an emergency at Nickelsville due to growing public health and safety issues like rats, flooding and crime.
Councilmember Nick Licata had originally opposed shutting down Nickelsville until other tent city locations could be pinned down, but now he supports the move.
"Because I think in some ways it gets to, unfortunately, probably what we should have done a lot earlier, which is allocate a huge amount of money for case management and trying to find shelter and housing for these individuals,” said Licata.
During public testimony, a neighbor said the city should also work to find campers who recently moved out of Nickelsville into nearby greenbelt encampments in West Seattle.
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw proposed an amendment to Monday's bill that would allow some of the resettlement money to go to those campers, too. But Clark and others denied the motion, saying that would spread the Nickelsville resettlement funds too thinly.
At past council events, Nickelsville residents have come out in force to protest, however no one spoke at Monday's council meeting.