More Cities Declaring a State of Emergency Over Homelessness

Seattle is the latest city to declare a state of emergency in response to homelessness in the city. Los Angeles, Portland, and Hawaii took similar steps in recent months.

November 8, 2015, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"Comparing the devastation of homelessness to flood and fire, local leaders Monday declared states of emergency in Seattle and King County, hoping to secure additional money and potentially loosen regulations to combat the problem," report Daniel Beekman and Jack Broom.

The article notes that Seattle follows Los Angeles and Portland, which took similar measures in September. The state of Hawaii made a similar announcement in October.

Seattle's homeless counts have seen a dramatic uptick this year compared to last. "Last winter’s One Night Count found 3,772 people without shelter in King County, including more than 2,800 in Seattle — a 21 percent increase over 2014," according to the article.

Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine are both quoted in the article comparing the devastation of homelessness to that of natural disasters. They are both pushing both the state and the federal government to respond to homelessness as they would to calamities of Mother Nature, such as fires, floods, or earthquakes. The article includes a lot more detail about the current efforts to provide shelter and services to the growing homeless population in King County.

Monday, November 2, 2015 in The Seattle Times

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