SEATTLE (AP) — A suburban Seattle city council passed emergency legislation Monday that tightens city regulations around homeless shelters, and will require more than 200 people temporarily living in a local hotel to move.
The 5-2 vote is the culmination of months of legal fighting between the King County government and the city of Renton, The Seattle Times reported. The county paid to move the hotel residents out of a crowded shelter in Seattle and into the Renton Red Lion Hotel after COVID-19 hit. Renton’s City Hall and business leaders complain the county saddled them with mentally ill or troublesome people who are hurting nearby businesses and scaring Renton residents.
Half of the people living in the hotel must move out by June, and the rest by January 2022.
The vote worries some advocates who see it as an indication that Seattle’s suburbs might not be willing to cooperate on a forming plan to work on homelessness regionally.
“It’s not the intention of the administration to kick these folks out,” Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone said. “We do believe that it’s important for Renton to be part of this regional solution — but I don’t know that we’ve found success yet. If this is going to be a long-term solution, if this isn’t just warehousing individuals, we need to look at this holistically.”
City Council members indicated last week they would change the legislation’s move-out date if the county or nonprofit that operates the shelter couldn’t find another place by then.