ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: More than a week after our last report on the sidewalk-blocking camp along Delridge just north of Roxbury, the site now has about half the number of tents that were there at its peak – down to about half a dozen as of early this afternoon. A texter reported seeing a city crew there earlier in the day. Before that text, we already had inquiries out to both SDOT and the Human Services Department – the former would be accountable for prioritizing (or not) the site for removal, under city policies leaving that up to departments that “own” individual sites, while the latter would be involved with services and outreach. First we heard back from HSD spokesperson Kevin Mundt, who said the camp was to be removed this week until a health situation led to a postponement:
Urban League, REACH, and the CCS Scope team outreach workers were at the Roxbury & Delridge location last week, in coordination with the HOPE Team. REACH made two referrals from the location to the Executive Hotel Pacific enhanced shelter on Thursday (May 13). As of last week, it was estimated that seven to ten people were residing in the encampment.
During the course of this outreach, providers notified the HOPE Team of individuals in the encampment who appeared sick with a gastrointestinal illness. Once notified, the HOPE Team shared this information with Public Health, who is investigating. Per recommendations from Public Health, a removal of the Delridge & Roxbury encampment planned for this week was postponed. The HOPE Team is encouraging outreach providers to continue their engagement at the site in the meantime.
Once a site is identified as a priority location by our City department partners, the HOPE Team shares that information with providers and directs outreach to those locations in an attempt to have the site be encampment free through outreach strategies alone. If necessary, a site may be subject to a removal under the MDARs.
SDOT, meantime, said a response to our inquiry would come from the mayor’s office, and that just arrived, from spokesperson Rachel Schulkin, explaining the city-crew sighting:
Today, REACH, a City-contracted outreach provider, contacted the Clean City initiative to request items they identified as trash and debris at the Roxbury and Delridge encampment be removed. Per the request, a Clean City Parks crew identified the items (with assistance from the outreach workers) on site and removed the debris from the encampment. Individuals residing on site were not asked to move and their property was left. As mentioned previously, there is no current scheduled removal for the encampment.
Two of the remaining tents are in front of White Center Glass, whose proprietor Abby Fisher was the latest to surface the sidewalk-blocking camp to the city. Of the newest developments, she says, “While that hasn’t improved as much as we would like to see – it is progress.” We’re following up separately with Seattle-King County Public Health to see what their investigation entails.
TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE: The camp is even smaller tonight – a few tents at the south end of the block. We’ve heard from the CoLEAD program, which has been working with the sidewalk residents, and expect to learn more tomorrow about how that has unfolded.