City Actions

Bellevue supports regional efforts to prevent homelessness and make it rare, brief and one-time when it occurs. In partnership with local community providers, the city supports a range of services, facilities, policies and enforcement, including:

  • Services to prevent homelessness – providing for basic needs, emergency financial assistance, counseling and treatment programs, medical care, employment opportunities, affordable housing.
  • Services for individuals experiencing homelessness – outreach (from homelessness outreach coordinator, Bellevue Fire Cares and county Mobile Crisis Team), mental health resources, job retraining programs, housing assistance, and addiction treatment and counseling; life coaching, etc.
  • Facilities for individuals experiencing homeless – includes day centers, shelters and other facilities where homeless individuals can access the support they need to transition out of homelessness. Local service agencies operate shelters on the Eastside.
  • Policies
    • Temporary Encampments - In December 2019, the city amended Land Use Code Part 20.30U regarding temporary encampments hosted by religious organizations. The amendment accommodates religious exercise, while protecting public health and safety through limitations on the number of temporary encampment residents, application and use requirements, provisions for sanitation, and limits on stay, duration and frequency.
    • Shelters - A land use code amendment regarding homeless services uses, adopted in 2018, ensures a clear and consistent process for siting shelters in Bellevue, with involvement from residents in the area.
    • Comprehensive Plan - The city's Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2015, calls for city support for shelters and affordable housing, in the goals and policies of the Housing and Human Services chapters.
  • Enforcement – Bellevue is committed to respond to behaviors and activities that don’t comply with existing city rules and regulations. This includes police and code enforcement response to unauthorized encampments on private or city-owned property, as well as any criminal activity.
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Legal Constraints

Homelessness is a complex issue and local governments must tailor their responses to be in compliance with a handful of key court rulings. Below is a select list of governing case law. This information is not comprehensive and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

  • State v. Pentecost, 64 Wn.App 656, 825 P.2d 365 (Div. III, 1992)

  • State v. Cleator, 71 Wn. App. 217, 857 P.2d 306 (Div. 1, 1993)

  • United States v. Sandoval, 200 F.3d 659 (9th Cir. 1999)

  • State v. Pippin, 200 Wn. App. 826 (2017)

  • Levan v. City of Los Angeles, 693 F.3d 1022 (9th Cir. 2012)

  • Russell v. City and County of Honolulu, No. 13-00475 LEK-RLP LEXIS 169114 (D. Haw. Nov. 29, 2013)

  • Martin v. City and County of Honolulu, No. 13-00363 HG-KSC, LEXIS 135071 (D. Haw. Oct. 1, 2015)

  • Acosta v. City of Salinas, 15-cv-05415, LEXIS 50515 (N.D. Cal. April 13, 2016)

  • Smith v. Corvallis, No. 6:14-cv-01382-MC, LEXIS 73205 (D. Or. June 6, 2016)

  • Ellis v. Clark County, No. 15-5449, LEXIS 126654 (W.D. Wa. Sept. 16, 2016)

  • Sanchez v. City of Fresno, 914 F. Supp. 2d 1079 (2012)

  • Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles, 754 F.3d 1147 (9th Cir. 2014)

  • Allen v. City of Sacramento, 234 Cal. App. 4th 41; 183 Cal. Rptr. 3d 654 (2015)

  • Pottinger v. Miami, 810 F. Supp. 1551 (S.D. Fla. 1992)

  • Veterans for Peace Greater Seattle v. City of Seattle, No. C09-1032 RSM, LEXIS 77040 (9th Cir. July, 24, 2009)

  • Pottinger v. Miami, 810 F. Supp. 1551 (1992)

  • Davison v. City of Tuscon, 924 F. Supp. 989 (D. Ariz. March 13, 1996)

  • Veterans for Peace Greater Seattle v. City of Seattle, No. C09-1032 RSM, LEXIS 77040 (9th Cir. July, 24, 2009)

  • Bell v. City of Boise, 709 F.3d 890 (9th Cir. 2013)

  • Bell v. City of Boise, 993 F. Supp. 2d 1237 (D. Idaho 2014)

  • Martin v. City of Boise, No. 1:09-cv-00540-REB, LEXIS 134129 (9th Cir. September 28, 2015)

  • Smith v. Corvallis, No. 6:14-cv-01382-MC, LEXIS 73205 (D. Or. June 6, 2016)

  • Martin v. City of Boise, 920 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2019)