SEATTLE -- In an effort to help the homeless in Seattle, city officials will open the doors of City Hall to shelter the homeless at night.
"A lot better than them being out on the street," said John Streeter, owner of City Grind Espresso.
Streeter starts his day around 4 a.m., hours before City Hall opens to the public, but he will soon have a lot of company when the doors to City Hall's main lobby are opened to 120 people with nowhere else to go. That's in addition to the 60 sleeping mats that have been rolled out on City Hall's ground floor lobby for years.
"So many people are homeless in this city with so many riches, and this country with so many riches. We've got to find solutions," said Julie Howell.
Howell said she's disappointed more isn't being done to help those in dire need -- but the Seattle City Council has now approved Mayor Jenny Durkan's $13 million plan to get 500 people who are homeless into new temporary shelter in the next 90 days. That includes 125 spots in new tiny house villages in locations throughout the city. Critics say it's still not enough -- with more than 6,000 people in this year's annual "One Night Count" of the homeless, a 13 percent increase from last year.
The concern at City Hall is the same as at every place homeless encampments have popped up -- vandalism and trash, and lots of it.
"RVs. You're got the homeless camps and there's just trash all over the place," said Steve Storgaard.
Streeter said he's confident the security and cleaning teams can handle any mess, and said there's been no problems with the ground floor lobby's use as a homeless shelter. He said he's more concerned about just how many people these days are priced out of Seattle and an affordable place to live.
"In this economy, we're one paycheck away. I think a lot of people are not too far from where I've been in my life, so yes -- I have zero problem with it," said Streeter.