www.seattletimes.com

Every two weeks, on payday, Neal Lampi would take a trip from Sodo down to Puyallup to a dump station to empty the sewage tank of the RV he lives in and go grocery shopping on the way back. But this summer, Lampi had to leave his job after 11 years. He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other medical complications that make him especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and work was too big a risk. He no longer had the money to pay for gas to get to Puyallup or dump fees if he got there. Dealing with human waste is an ever-present issue in Seattle, where thousands of homeless people who live outside have to find a place to relieve themselves. Many people think living in an RV — when everything works — is a better kind of homelessness than sleeping on the street, particularly because you have a toilet in the middle of a pandemic-stricken city where public bathrooms are few and far between. The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless is funded by BECU, The Bernier McCaw Foundation, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Starbucks and the University of Washington. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over Project Homeless content. But Seattle has no public dump sites in the city limits. And many RVs are damaged, don’t run or have sewage tanks with little gray water, so the waste is extra sludgy and hard to pump if the owner […]