The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a resolution that would convert sections of City Hall into homeless shelters; adding at least “100 spaces” to the property to help stem the escalating housing crisis.
The council’s decision comes weeks after officials were pressured to abandon their proposed “head tax,” a hefty tariff placed on large corporations that would force companies to raise millions to build new shelters and facilities throughout Seattle.
“When people have access to shelter, they’re more likely to take advantage of services like behavioral health, hygiene services, and employment support, and then move to permanent housing,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “We all have to contribute to solutions to this crisis, which is why we’re opening City Hall [to] more people each night.”
According to Fox News, the homeless are to be housed in the City Hall lobby after a specified time of day and will be forced to leave the following morning.
The plan is estimated to cost taxpayers over $13 million.
Read the full story here.
SEATTLE REVOLT: Amazon HALTS Expansion Plan Over ‘Homeless Tax’
Online retail giant Amazon paused its plan to build a 17-story high-rise office complex in the heart of Seattle Thursday, saying the city council’s new policy of taxing businesses to fight homelessness could derail the entire project.
The controversial legislation passed the Seattle City Council this week, placing a hefty tariff on large corporations to raise over $75 million to fight the region’s escalating homeless crisis and rising crime.
“I can confirm that pending the outcome of the head tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sublease all space in our recently leased Rainer Square building,” said a spokesperson for Amazon.
The online giant employs over 40,000 workers in the Seattle area alone, and was planning to further increase its operations in the city until the council passed the “homeless tax.”
“The current reality on the streets of Seattle clearly shows the City Council’s approach to the biggest crisis facing our region has been inconsistent and ineffective,” said Seattle’s Chamber of Commerce.
SEATTLE SURRENDERS? The City Seeks to Repeal ‘HOMELESS TAX’ After Business Revolt
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signaled this week that her administration was seeking a “repeal” of the so-called “homeless tax” over mounting public pressure and a major pushback from local businesses.
The Mayor and at least seven of nine city council members are hard at work on slashing the burdensome tax, which fined businesses earning a specific amount of profit to help finance the city’s exploding homeless population.
“It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis,” said a statement from the Mayor’s office. “These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region.”
“While a vote may go forward to repeal the tax, our homelessness and housing affordability crisis gets worse,” Council member Teresa Mosqueda said. “We have people who are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity, and our neighbors and friends worry about being able to afford to live in the City while we have a booming economy.”
Leading the charge against the tax was Seattle-based Starbucks and Amazon, two of the nation’s largest corporations who would have been forced to may $275 per employee to help raise funds for the city’s homeless.
Read the full report at Fox News.