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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


New King County enhanced shelter opens at West Wing

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the opening of a 40-bed men’s shelter in a former work-release space at the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle. DESC will provide 24/7 on-site services and case management.

Story

Following his directive to press every available King County property into the fight against homelessness, Executive Constantine opened an enhanced shelter at 5th Avenue and Jefferson Street, a ground-floor space at the King County Correctional Facility last used for staff education and training as well as equipment and records storage.

The facility renovation, which took place after King County held a series of focus groups with advocates and those who have experienced homelessness, cost $2 million. It included upgrades to facility internal systems, new sinks and other plumbing fixtures, new fiber optic cables, paint, laundry, and other improvements, including removing security signage and infrastructure.

DESC will provide services, including behavioral health treatment, housing counseling and employment services. Clients will be contacted by DESC and referred individually to the shelter. Unlike other shelters, this enhanced shelter will specifically reach out to and engage people who have been on the streets longer, and those with mental health or substance use issues.

DESC regularly coordinates with the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention to find shelter for people released from jail with behavioral health conditions.

Open to clients on March 31, West Wing Enhanced Shelter operations will cost approximately $1.8 million for the next two years.

“The new West Wing Enhanced Shelter is focused on helping those with the greatest needs who are traditionally the most challenging to serve. This is how we will break the cycle of homelessness and jail and despair,” said Executive Constantine. “With partners such as DESC, we will make a difference in people’s lives, and in our community.”

“We appreciate King County not only creating new shelter for people who would otherwise be struggling outside, but doing so in a way that allowed us to involve people most affected by homelessness in the design and formation of the project,” said Dan Malone, Executive Director of DESC. “Working together, we were able to transform a space to be avoided into one our clients will want to be in.”

Late last year, King County opened Harborview Hall Overnight Shelter bringing 100 women and men – and their pets – indoors every night. Before the end of the year, Harborview Hall will expand to a 24/7 enhanced shelter.

Earlier this year, King County opened the Jefferson Day Center at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street to provide case management, housing help, and health and behavioral health services, as well as showers and laundry facilities every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Day Center currently serves over 125 people each day.

This summer, King County will open SODO Interim Housing on Sixth Avenue South. These modular dorms, previously used to house workers in the oil fields, will provide housing for people who have been assessed for permanent supportive housing but for whom no housing is currently available.

By the end of the year, King County plans to open the Elliott Avenue Shelter, which will offer enhanced shelter services and move 72 people currently homeless off the streets.

Relevant links

 Quotes

The new West Wing Enhanced Shelter is focused on helping those with the greatest needs who are traditionally the most challenging to serve. This is how we will break the cycle of homelessness and jail and despair. With partners such as DESC, we will make a difference in people’s lives, and in our community.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

We appreciate King County not only creating new shelter for people who would otherwise be struggling outside, but doing so in a way that allowed us to involve people most affected by homelessness in the design and formation of the project. Working together, we were able to transform a space to be avoided into one our clients will want to be in.

Dan Malone, Executive Director of DESC
For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography