City of Tacoma press release.
TACOMA, Wash. – On September 13, the Tacoma City Council will receive an introduction from District 1 Council Member John Hines on a proposed ordinance prohibiting camping and the storage of personal belongings on public property around temporary shelters. The proposed ordinance was drafted in response to a sharp uptick in public health and safety concerns received from community members regarding these specific areas.
“No one is happy with the status quo,” said Council Member Hines. “This proposed ordinance is meant to serve as a starting point for broader conversations on some of our biggest challenges. I think we can all agree that everyone in our community deserves to have a healthy and safe place to live – including those currently in encampments, in temporary shelters, and in the neighborhoods that surround them.”
Ensuring public health and safety in neighborhoods where temporary shelters are currently located will be key, according to Council Member Hines, if other neighborhoods are to consider partnering with the City in future efforts to expand shelter options.
As work to set up another temporary shelter at 35th Street and Pacific Avenue progresses, and the City continues its search for more potential shelter locations and community partnerships, Council Member Hines expressed hope that the proposed ordinance, if passed, would make things easier in the months and years ahead.
Council Member Hines also expressed his ongoing commitment to the City’s longer-term work to invest in permanent supportive and affordable housing, to examine zoning to allow for more housing types, and to support strategies surrounding mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“While this longer-term work is vital, the proposed ordinance I am introducing on September 13 acknowledges the reality that we need to address encampments and the impacts they have on our community right now,” said Council Member Hines. “I invite everyone to tune in to Study Session at noon on that day to learn more.”
Study Session can be viewed in person at the Tacoma Municipal Building Council Chambers (747 Market St., 1st Floor), and virtually on TV Tacoma, Facebook LIVE or ZOOM. Access details are available at cityoftacoma.org/councilmeetings.