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City of Tacoma Extends Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency

City of Tacoma Extends Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 3, 2017

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Gwen Schuler, Media and Communications, gschuler@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051

 

City of Tacoma Extends Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency

 

The Tacoma City Council passed Ordinance No. 28457, which amends Ordinance 28430 to extend the sunset date of the declaration of public health emergency relating to the conditions of homeless encampments through December 31, 2017 and took effect immediately.


The declaration, which was originally approved on May 9, was made in response to growing health and safety concerns resulting from higher concentrations of people living in the more than 50 encampments in Tacoma.


Encampments pose safety and health concerns for people living in them and around them as they create concerns about human waste, garbage, exposure to communicable diseases, exposure to violence and other human health concerns.


A state of public health emergency allows the City to exercise its local authority to suspend certain regulations to execute the Emergency Temporary Aid and Shelter Plan.


The City Council also passed Ordinance No. 28458, which amended Chapter 8.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to Disorderly Conduct, to prohibit public property camping, by extending the sunset date from October 9, 2017, to December 31, 2017.


In addition to the $3.4 million funding approved on June 9, 2017 for the Temporary Emergency Aid and Shelter Plan, the City allocated $10.9 million in the 2017-2018 biennial budget for homelessness services, which is a 48 percent increase over its 2015-2016 investment. The City will continue to invest in mental health services, substance use treatment, stable housing, sanitation services and safety. In addition to the service provision for people experiencing homelessness, the City will continue to implement encampment cleanup approaches and work with property owners to ensure that sites are clean and safe.

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