Questions about plan to target ‘predatory’ vehicle rentals

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle City Council members have raised concerns with Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposal to penalize so-called vehicle ranchers, who rent out dilapidated vehicles to homeless people, worrying the measure could unfairly affect any person living in an RV or other automobile.

City staff on Friday emphasized the legislation, discussed in a Finance and Neighborhoods Committee meeting, is designed to target only the “predatory rentals of unsafe vehicles,” said Calvin Goings, director of the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services.

The Seattle Times reports that Goings also said, as many homeless advocates and council members have argued, that the proposed legislation “does not solve the broader vehicle living challenges” in Seattle.

The city’s most popular shelter options are regularly full, and affordable housing options are limited, issues that Xouncil members raised repeatedly during Friday’s meeting.

More than 2,100 people were living in their vehicles in King County during this year’s one-night homeless count.

Durkan’s proposed measure would fine ranchers $250 per day if they are allowing people to occupy or rent a vehicle that the city considers “extensively damaged.”