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Proposal could add thousands of homes to combat homelessness in Seattle

Heeding the warning that it is moving day from under the Spokane Street viaduct in Seattle, people started packing up before dawn. (KOMO News) 

SEATTLE -- Heeding the warning that it is moving day from under the Spokane Street viaduct in Seattle, people started packing up before dawn.

The city has moved up its plan to get people to move from the viaduct after a man was shot and killed at the location last month.

Some who call these tents home told KOMO News they really don't have a choice.

"Here in Seattle there's a housing crisis and trying to afford a place to stay is damn near impossible," Aaron LaBreche, who is currently homeless, said.

Just as the city starts sweeping another encampment, there is a new proposal on how to help the homeless in Seattle.

City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and the Seattle People's Party are kicking off a campaign to build 5,000 homes in five years.

The group wants to raise the city's corporate tax by 31 cents for the service sector and 16 cents at the retail level to raise money they would need to build the homes.

"There is no shortage of ideas honestly. What there is a shortage of in City Hall is a political will," Sawant said.

Susan Russell, who was homeless for ten years after a car crash, is joining Sawant for the campaign.

Russell said there used to be a lot of affordable housing in Seattle and now, all that housing has been sold off.

"We have large corporations in this city," Russell said. "This city is wealthy."

The city said it now has a new option to place those forced to move out from homeless camps in the SoDo area.

Compass Housing recently opened a shelter at First Presbyterian in Seattle.

Jason Johnson, deputy director of Seattle Human Services Department, said Human Services will help those with mental health or medical issues to help them find housing.

"We work through the issue so if the issue is alcohol related, we're going to work to help connect them to treatment," Johnson said.




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