New County Council funded shelter has space for up to 100 unsheltered neighbors; close to medical care and services
StoryTwo years ago, the Metropolitan King County Council modified the Executive’s proposed budget to include millions of dollars of new investments in shelter beds and services to address the region’s homelessness crisis and save lives. The Council identified the vacant Harborview Hall – the former nurses’ dormitory – as a prime opportunity to increase shelter capacity, allocating $2.5 million for needed renovations and shelter services. The Council also set aside $3.5 million for a 24/7 shelter and navigation center at a King County-owned building located at 420 4th Ave in Seattle.
The opening of up to 100 shelter beds in Harborview Hall this week implements the vision of the County Council’s budget adopted two years ago. In the 2019–20 budget, the Council allocated an additional $4 million to expand the Harborview Hall project to provide an enhanced 24/7 shelter with additional services on site. The 420 4th Avenue building is expected to be activated sometime in 2019 to provide day-center services for individuals experiencing homelessness.
“I want to thank the First Hill Improvement Association, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Seattle City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Teresa Mosqueda for their support of the project," said County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “They helped us apply pressure to continue moving forward with this project in the face of opposition, and break down bureaucratic and permitting barriers at the City to bring it to life. It is a promising model to bring more shelter beds online and save lives, but we’ve got to move more quickly and with a greater sense of urgency.”
“We are glad the shelter is set to open and are supportive of more resources for our homeless neighbors," said Anne McCullough, Executive Director at the First Hill Improvement Association. "First Hill residents are in favor of an enhanced shelter, a model that has proven to be more effective than traditional shelters. We look forward to the transition of Harborview Hall to an enhanced shelter in the coming years."
“I want to thank King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and the First Hill Neighborhood Improvement Association for their steadfast vision. Despite many obstacles, the opening of Harborview Hall shows we can create tangible solutions to address our homelessness crisis. Harborview Hall is one common-sense solution to our homelessness crisis, as the once unused building is close to healthcare services, transit, social services, and is a safer alternative compared to sleeping outdoors,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia).
“Harborview Hall addresses only a small piece of the City's homelessness problem, but it’s a step forward, and will provide safety and security to many sleeping on our streets this winter,” said Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. “In the absence of much needed revenue, we need to engage in creative thinking to move our City's homeless residents off the streets, into enhanced shelters and then onto permanent supportive housing. I'm thankful for the King County Council, under the leadership of Councilmember Dembowski, and my colleague, Councilmember Bagshaw, for willing to think outside the box and work on long-term solutions to our City's homelessness crisis.”