Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien produced draft legislation that would loosen parking enforcement for homeless people living in vehicles, spreading dozens of homeless RV lots across the city. This legislation would largely exempt some vehicles used as housing from being towed or impounded when parked on city streets, reported KIRO 7.
The plan would create 30 to 50 RV “safe lots” throughout Seattle on unused city property and private property where owners agree to host.
O’Brien said that people would have to meet certain qualifications for the program, such as people living out of cars and minivans would have to participate in the program to be exempt from booting and impounding. As for people living in RVs or commercial vehicles, they would have to be in “parked industrial zones.”
O’Brien wrote in a statement that the number of people living in vehicles nearly doubled over the last several years from 590 individuals in 2010 to 1,550 in 2017.
The councilman believes that the city’s current approach to what he calls “vehicular residency” often results in fines that put people farther away from permanent housing.
“In currently allowing vehicle residents to continue to accrue parking and impoundment fines, we only exacerbate their challenges in a pathway to housing. If someone is willing to work with a service provider and is committed to stabilizing their living situation, I think we should enthusiastically try to meet that need,” he said.
O’Brien created a work group to look into ideas for his draft legislation, and he calls that draft a “starting point.”