FAQ: Our Role in Encampment Removals

What is the RHA’s role in encampment removals?

The RHA contracts with outreach teams that engage with people living in encampments. If the RHA has advance notice of city removals, outreach teams make every effort to connect people to services, shelter and housing before a removal occurs.

Who decides which encampments will be removed and when?

Dates for removals and removal actions are organized and managed by the city government for the city in which they occur. Removals are conducted based on the authority of the city government as property owner of parks, sidewalks, and similar public spaces.

Are people living unsheltered offered services, shelter or housing during removals?

Whether services and shelter options are offered during a removal is determined by the city government conducting the removal.

For example, in Seattle, the HOPE Team provides offers of shelter during removals and collaborates with outreach teams prior to a removal. Other cities may operate differently.

Is outreach provided prior to encampment removals?

The RHA works with contracted outreach providers to engage with people experiencing homelessness at encampments across King County. Outreach is designed to help connect people to shelter and supportive services.

The RHA’s outreach provider partners do not have any role in determining which encampments will be removed or when, nor do they have any role on the day of removal, but outreach workers may choose to be present to support affected clients.

What is the RHA doing about encampments?

The RHA also works with provider partners to resolve encampments in a person-centered way, such that each person is offered dignified and appropriate housing and shelter options with services that meet their needs based on individualized case plans.

Encampment resolution allows time to implement best practices. The timeline for a full resolution depends on resource availability, including housing, shelter, and staff capacity. During that time, partners conduct outreach and needs assessments, develop case management plans, and place people into shelter or housing with appropriate services.