Councilman: Time for Nickelsville to move into permanent housing

SEATTLE -- Nickelsville has become a landmark in south Seattle.

But the city says it's time for the homeless encampment to go.

"I think the public and the city does not want a repeat of Nickelsville. We have well-intentioned people wanting to live together but basically they don't have the proper authority to do public safety needs," Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata said.

That's is why Licata is proposing two bills.

The first would spend $500,000 to help move Nickelsville residents into permanent.

"The debate of course is whether there are a sufficient number of units out there," Licata said.

The second would allow private charity groups to host Nickelsville resident at other locations.

Under Seattle's existing religious encampment ordinance, no permit is required.

Licata said Nickelsville would instead form a partnership with two religious institutions, which would rent properties suitable for Nickelsville residents.

It was legal red tape that has not allowed the city to improve the current location.

"We couldn't hook up water or electricity because of legal status. My legislation would say, let's clear up that legal status so this way we can provide actual water and electricity for a temporary transitional arrangement," he said.

But, any new encampments would come under new regulations.

"There's a one year limit on it. After one year, they'd have to move off that has a cap on how many people can be on a particular place," Licata said.

The city has tried to clear out Nickelsville before. This week, could finally be the beginning of the end.