Drugs, alcohol allowed at Seattle tiny home village for homeless

King 5's Dan Cassuto open

Seattle's newest sanctioned homeless camp opened on Aurora Avenue North on Wednesday.

The site features 22 tiny houses with access to showers, electricity, and furniture.

For the first time, campers will also be allowed to bring something inside their houses that's never been allowed in a sanctioned homeless camp before: drugs and alcohol.

"If we required they be clean and sober, they'd be out on the street," said Sharon Lee, executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute. "If you set up too many barriers, no one would be living here, and they'd be in the neighborhood."

The campers will be required to follow behavior and community rules, including performing chores. They'll meet with social workers who'll help them find jobs, stable housing, and sobriety.

No drugs or alcohol will be allowed except inside individual tiny houses.

The Seattle Police Department says it does not plan any additional patrolling for the area.

Nearby business owners have mixed feelings. Mark Markarov, owner of a rare coin shop next door, says he supports the camp and its drug and alcohol policy.

"If you're not going to have this, they'll hide everywhere," he said. "People deserve to be treated like people."

Some others neighbors and local business owners did not express such solid support. They did not want to be quoted, but other business owners said they were "neutral" to concerned about substance abuse outside the camp.

They're taking a wait-and-see approach, while campers, like Gerald Brooks, pledge to use the opportunity to get sober and find work.

"I'm happy beyond belief," said Brooks. "It's an eye-opener."

© 2017 KING-TV


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