Kent City Council passes new homeless camping ban – KIRO 7 News Seattle


KENT, Wash. — Kent is the latest to join a growing list of cities that has banned homeless camping on public property.

The situation is unique in Kent because of an existing law. The city already has a homeless camping ban passed 22 years ago. But the new ordinance will make the ban stronger by focusing on camping in areas where it is “destructive to the environment” and “disruptive to the property’s intended purpose.”

That includes areas such as wetlands, parks, picnic shelters, playfields and city-owned facilities.

Before the Kent City Council voted on the ordinance, the floor was opened for public comment. Everyone who spoke touched on the ordinance. One of them was a business owner who has lived in Kent for over 30 years.

“I have not in all the years seen our homeless population grow so much as it has now. I am in favor of the ordinance, but I am in favor of making sure that it’s just not moving people to move them, that we also seek services for them, we seek affordable housing,” said Randal Smith.

City officials said shelter and services are offered to every person in an encampment that’s being cleared.

Since last year, Mercer Island, Edmonds, Everett and Tacoma have passed some form of ban on camping in public places.


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