King County will open a new day center at 4th Avenue and Jefferson Street by the end of January. Enhanced 24/7 shelter will open in the West Wing of the King County Correctional Facility in March, along with modular dorms at a former Metro parking lot in SODO. King County involved people who have experienced homelessness and other community members to help develop programs and services at these locations.
On Oct. 11, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a package of emergency housing strategies designed to provide shelter while more permanent housing is developed. These investments are informed by people with lived experience and organizations that support vulnerable communities, as recommended by a recent consultant report commissioned by King County, City of Seattle, All Home, and other partners.
In partnership with the King County Council and providers, King County is moving forward with shelter and day center openings:
• A 100-bed shelter at Harborview Hall operated by the Salvation Army opened on Dec. 21, and is already at more than 80 percent capacity. Twenty percent of clients are women. Metro and Solid Ground expanded the Circulator bus to First Hill to help people travel between the shelter and work or appointments.
• Jefferson Day Center, to be opened in January, provides onsite case management, connections and referral to community services, housing navigation, employment services and other supports for people experiencing homelessness. The facility at 4th Avenue and Jefferson Street will be operated by the Salvation Army and will serve 100 single adults. This is in addition to the 50-bed shelter already in operation each night at this location.
• The first modular housing units arrived in Seattle from Texas on Jan. 12. The SODO Bridge Housing Project at 6th Avenue South and South Atlantic Street will be open in March. With onsite case management, housing navigation and connections to community services, Catholic Community Services and other partners will provide housing to 48 adult singles and couples moving from shelters to permanent housing. The project showcases modular construction as an alternative to traditional building methods.
• The first floor of the King County Correctional Facility West Wing will open the first floor to serve 40 single adults in March, while the County continues to address construction issues on the upper floors. Located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Jefferson Street, the 24-hour enhanced shelter will offer onsite case management, housing navigation, meals, and showers. The facility will be operated by DESC. While planning for the West Wing, DESC conducted walk-throughs with people who have experienced homelessness and their advocates to ensure the enhanced shelter suits the needs of the population it serves.
Since the Executive’s October announcement, the Department of Executive Services’ Facilities Management Division is collaborating with the Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention to renovate the West Wing, including making the showers ADA compliant, removing bars from windows, securing the perimeter of the shelter from the adjoining jail, and creating smooth access from the first to second floors.
DESC shared King County’s desire to find space that could be put to use in helping vulnerable people with many needs get off the streets. We had many questions about whether the West Wing could effectively serve this purpose, and appreciate King County’s commitment to making sure those questions could be reviewed and answered by people the program is intended to help.
With these new efforts, we appreciate the County’s speedy and collaborative response to the urgent need for 24/7 shelter and our system’s focus on housing stability for all of our community’s residents.
The Salvation Army is honored to expand our partnership with King County and offer additional services to our homeless neighbors. The Day Center, located at 4th and Jefferson, will provide a safe, warm place for guests to visit during the day. We look forward to connecting with guests, offering resources and referrals, and helping them take steps toward self-sufficiency.
I’m proud of the Council’s commitment to addressing our urgent homelessness crisis. Through collaborations like these, the County and its partners will be able to continue supporting communities with enhanced shelter and housing opportunities.
King County and our partners are not just expanding shelter capacity but also working directly with people who have experienced homelessness to help us to design the types of shelter and services they need to increase their stability and move on to permanent housing.
For more information, contact:
Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966