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City Council Civilian Homeless Response Team

October 21, 2020

homeless people

City Council of Seattle announced on Monday, October 19th it was introducing legislation to establish a civilianized system to coordinate outreach and service at homeless encampments without involving law enforcement.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis on Monday introduced legislation to establish a civilianized system. In turn, this system would coordinate outreach and services at homeless encampments without involving law enforcement.


City Council Voted to Dismantle the Navigation Team


The City Council voted to dismantle the Navigation Team. Moreover, the team included police officers and conducted encampment removals, this occurred in August.


Andrew Lewis said this team will be exclusively civilian. Therefore, Lewis said the City practice of using armed and uniformed police as agents of homelessness outreach and coordination is over. In turn, the new model will acknowledge the strength the city can bring as a partner. Moreover, he said the coordination of a variety of essential services to support the provider community.


Unsheltered Outreach, Response Team


The Unsheltered Outreach and Response Team will assume a collaborative role in coordinating homeless outreach with existing community organizations like the Chief Seattle Club, Downtown Emergency Services Center, REACH, and the Urban League. Lewis created this legislation.


The City Council Needs to Stand up and Create Credible Offers of Shelter


Lewis said the city can’t make credible offers of shelter to everyone who needs it. In turn, the city needs to stand up more for enhanced shelter and permanent supportive housing. As a result, they can’t make credible offers of shelter to everyone who needs it. Therefore, it is critical that campers are engaged by people equipped to build trust. In fact, they help manage the encampment. So, that it can be safe and hygienic while residents work to exit homelessness.


Garbage Pickup, Hygienic Facilities


Under the plan, some of the support roles filled by the city would include providing garbage pickup and hygienic facilities. In turn, Lewis said his bill was the result of weeks of discussions among councilmembers. It also included Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office and frontline service providers.

Best Serve Unsheltered People in our City


Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, says the new approach empowered the frontline workers with the necessary skills and relationships to best service unsheltered people in its city. Moreover, Echohawk said she appreciated Councilmember Lewis for setting the table for a collaborative partnership. In turn, this would be between the city government and the experts in compassionate outreach.


“This new approach empowers the frontline workers with the skills and relationships to best serve unsheltered people in our city,” said Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club. “I appreciate Councilmember Lewis for setting the table for a collaborative partnership between city government and the experts in compassionate outreach.”


The bill would also conditionally approve more than $2 million in the 2020 budget for contracts with non-profit organizations. In turn, this would allow them to take on the outreach roles previously done by the Navigation Team. Next, the council is scheduled to vote on the plan on Monday, Oct. 26.

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