Officials hope the homeless camp next to Bitter Lake School will be cleared by September – KIRO 7 News Seattle

SEATTLE – Seattle Public Schools (SPS) announced Thursday night that they intend to clear a K-8 homeless camp near Broadview-Thomson by September.

This announcement during a long community meeting at the school attended by 75 residents and families from the neighborhood. During the meeting, SPS presented plans to partner with a local nonprofit called Anything Helps.

The group has reportedly already carried out an “initial assessment” of the camp and found that work on supporting and housing accommodation for people in the area is expected to be completed in early September, coinciding with the start of the new school year.

The camp has been a focal point for parents and residents of Bitter Lake for months and consists of over 40 tents on adjacent property just behind Broadview-Thomson K-8.

Over the course of two months in the spring the school was closed at least twice – once in April after a firearm that turned out to be a pellet rifle and did not result in injury, and again in May after a worker saw someone inside thought he shouldn’t being at school. There was also an overdose in the camp, although the man survived.

In the meantime, Seattle School Board leaders have decided against sweeping campers out of the area without first making sure they can accommodate them in available accommodations. This was set out in a joint statement by Chairman Chandra Hampson and Director Zachary DeWolf in early April saying that sweeps should “NEVER be conducted on school premises, adjacent to it, or anywhere else in this city.”

The Seattle Public Schools reiterated that position later in the month, stating that “simply removing them from county property will not result in a permanent solution,” as campers often “move between town and county properties.”

The hope now is that with the help of Anything Helps volunteers, campers can be moved to available accommodations and made aware of other resources. The organization is currently hosting volunteers and, according to the SPS, “many of those who attended the meeting last night” signed up with Broadview-Thomson.

“We are very grateful for any help anyone in the community can contribute,” SPS spokesman Tim Robinson told MyNorthwest.

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