Seattle Homeless Sweeps Skyrocket: What’s Behind the Staggering Numbers?

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Seattle has just broken its own record in sweeping away unhoused folks living in tents and vehicles last year. With an astonishing 943 sweeps, that’s more than two-and-a-half per day, the city surely knows how to keep its streets tidy, right? But don’t worry, 771 of these “obstruction” sweeps didn’t even require giving prior notice to the camp residents, making it a nice surprise, wouldn’t you agree?

The remaining 158 sweeps were kind enough to give our fellow citizens a heads up, with notice ranging from one to four days. As for the 14 unclassified sweeps or those marked with question marks, well, let’s chalk that up to some good old-fashioned bureaucratic confusion.

Did you know that last year, Seattle only conducted 53 sweeps with prior notice? But hey, new Mayor Bruce Harrell is on the case, and he’s made it a top priority to address these encampments. He’s even got the Department of Parks and Recreation clearing out parks and green spaces, so you can enjoy your morning jog without any pesky tents in the way!

It seems that the bigger encampments that managed to stick around during the pandemic have been sent packing, with the final one in Woodland Park cleared in May 2022. The majority of the sweeps in 2022 were just small-scale operations, targeting a few tents, vehicles, or sleeping bags here and there.

Of course, some people aren’t too happy about these sweeps, calling them violent, harmful, and counterproductive. But the reopening of the Ballard Commons park saw protesters crash the party, delaying the event by about an hour. The park had been closed in December 2021 following a sweep that cleared dozens of tents and displaced around 100 residents. But hey, at least the park is open now, right?

#SeattleSweeps #UnhousedCrisis #MayorHarrellPriority

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