AUBURN, Wash - The city of Auburn has passed new legislation, making it a criminal penalty to camp on public property within the city.
Initially, the fine was $250 for the offense. Now, someone could be fined $1,000 or spend 90 days in jail if found sleeping on the city's property.
The ordinance only applies if there is space available in overnight shelters.
Auburn isn't the only city to crack down on homelessness.
The city of Everett recently voted on a controversial ordinance that will ban sitting or lying in a 10-block area of the city.
The proposal targets the homeless population who gather under and around the I-5 overpass on Smith Avenue, prompting complaints from business owners about trash and crime.
The ban has been discussed in Everett for years, but the threat of lawsuits has largely stopped the ordinance from moving forward.
Washington state experienced one of the largest estimated increases in homelessness between 2019 and 2020 relative to other states in the U.S., according to recently released data from an annual report to Congress.
Washington state reported an increase in homelessness of 6.2% between 2019 and 2020, the third-largest increase among all states, the Seattle Times reported on March 20.
Homelessness grew by more than 2% across the country over the same time frame, according to the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Washington state also reported a 20% increase in family homelessness between 2019 and 2020, one of the largest nationwide.
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