Tacoma’s homeless camping ban has been in effect for 4 months. Here’s how it’s going
In the last four months, the city of Tacoma has removed 23 encampments as a result of an ordinance banning homeless camps around temporary shelters and protected waters.
The ordinance, passed by the City Council on a 6-3 vote Oct. 11, restricts homeless camps within 10 blocks of the city’s temporary shelters and within 200 feet of protected waters and the Puyallup River.
It went into effect Nov. 14. An amendment to the ordinance called for the evaluation of effects before and after implementation with specific data requests.
The City Council received a report on Tacoma Municipal Code 8.19 from the city’s Homeless Engagement Alternatives Liaison (HEAL) Team at its study session Tuesday.
By early March, the city cleaned up encampments in the banned areas. Under the code, encampments are banned near Aspen Court, Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelter Sites at 6th Avenue and Orchard Street, South 69th Street and Proctor Street, 60th Street and McKinley Avenue; the stability site at 1421 Puyallup Ave.; the mitigation sites at South 82nd Street and Pacific Avenue and 3561 Pacific Avenue, the RISE Center Emergency Stabilization Shelter, Altheimer Memorial Church of God in Christ, Bethlehem Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church.
The most recent clean-up was March 8 at 26th and Pacific, which is in the 35th and Pacific zone. The HEAL Team contacted six people, and none accepted the city’s resources.
Allyson Griffith is director of Neighborhood and Community Services, which oversees the HEAL Team. Griffith said the team made 649 contacts citywide since the ordinance went into effect Nov. 14. Of those contacts, 386 people, or 59 percent, were interested in services, she said. Services include shelter, substance-use treatment, peer counseling and behavioral counseling.
She said 71 people, or 11%, were placed in a shelter.
“Individuals may not actually access that shelter right away,” Griffith said. “That may be due to their own needs and barriers. That may also be due to the…