Homeless shelters reopen, two tent communities close

Dozens of tents in front of the King County building in downtown Seattle are now gone.

A pair of homeless tent communities in downtown Seattle is now gone.

Campers at tent city six, which occupied the entrance to the King County building, and tent city seven, which spread out on a nearby hill, packed up their belongings, rolled up their tents, and relocated to a network of shelters, which are opening their doors for the first time in months.

“Definitely some folks were very sad to see this go, trying to figure out where to go next,” said Stu Tanquist, who is a board member of SHARE, the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, which oversees the tent cities and indoor shelters.

Roughly 200 people camped outside the county building this summer as a form of protest after the county stopped funding SHARE shelters. The county and city recently agreed to restore funding, and 11 shelters planned to reopen Monday night.

“Many of the folks here are going to the shelters that are opening back up, some of us are going back to the tent cities, and others are just going somewhere else,” Tanquist said while packing up some final belongings.

Tuesday will be an important day for many homeless advocates and organizations in Seattle.

Groups like the ACLU, Columbia Legal Services, Seattle/King Co. Coalition on Homelessness, Real Change, and Seattle Community Law Center are planning to have a big gathering at Tuesday's city council meeting, where they will urge council members to support a proposed ordinance adding protections for people who are illegally camping.

Copyright 2016 KING


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