Harborview Hall finally put back to use as homeless shelter set to open

Attendees at last week’s information session on the reopening of Harborview Hall

Two years after the allocation of funding, the Harborview Hall shelter is targeting a December 15th opening, providing 100 beds for people experiencing homelessness to stay overnight.

Representatives from The Salvation Army and King County, which owns the property, met with dozens of community members, many of whom were Harborview Medical Center employees, last week in an open house on the hospital’s campus to discuss the opening of the shelter.

The Salvation Army will be operating the temporary overnight shelter, located at 326 9th Avenue on the first floor of Harborview Hall, which has been vacant since 2011. There will be a minimum of four staff members inside the facility while it’s open, according to The Salvation Army’s offsite shelter programs director Scott Moorhouse. Continue reading

Seattle’s $5.9B budget is set: more SPD and firefighters, Navigation Team expansion amid tighter belts at City Hall

Seattle City Hall (Image: Seattle.gov)

The City Council Monday finalized its efforts to fill in a few blanks in Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 2019-2020 Seattle budget, her administration’s first budget and, most likely, one of the few municipal $5.9 billion budgets in the world to get slapped with the “austerity” label.

“The goals of inclusion and economic opportunity have guided us for these past 12 months, and this approved budget invests in these promises and commitments and shows we can live within our means,” Durkan said in a statement following Monday’s 8-1 votes approving the 2019 and 2020 budgets. “From giving Seattle’s young people free ORCA and a passport to their city, to urgent action on homelessness, to protecting our immigrant and refugee neighbors, we’re continuing to build a more inclusive Seattle with true economic opportunity.”

“Using this budget as our guide, we must continue to be stewards of taxpayer dollars and invest in a more affordable, inclusive and vibrant future for all who call Seattle home,” Durkan said Monday.

District 3’s Kshama Sawant, representing Capitol Hill, the Central District, and nearby neighborhoods, was the sole vote in opposition to the spending package and called the process at City Hall business as usual for the “establishment” council and mayor.” Continue reading

Final pieces of Seattle’s 2019-2020 $5.9B budget puzzle: Navigation Team funding, food banks, and red-light camera revenue

The Navigation Team during a cleanup along I-5 (Image: City of Seattle)

With reporting from Seattle City Council Insight

The march to complete Seattle’s 2019-2020 budget is proving a real slog at the top as the process now has about 95% of the plan in place after an epic nine-hour Seattle City Council meeting earlier this week that included votes on a mind-numbing 188 agenda items.

The final pushes around polishing the Durkan administration’s first budget proposal and setting Seattle’s next nearly $6 billion city budget pivot –unsurprisingly — around how to spend the small portion available out of those millions on improving the city’s approach to homelessness and affordable housing. Continue reading

Capitol Hill things to watch in Seattle budget ‘balancing package’ include homelessness outreach, ‘Community Health Engagement Location’ — UPDATE

Some big decisions were made Tuesday across the United States. Wednesday in City Council chambers will bring some big decisions for Seattle as representatives shake out the final roster of additions, tweaks, and cuts to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 2019-2020 budget proposal.

Included in the “green sheet” decision day is a proposal for the money sought by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and business community to support a homeless outreach worker in the neighborhood and some spends championed by District 3 rep Kshama Sawant including a bid to add $440,000 in 2019 to help finalize a decision on a location for a “Community Health Engagement Location” — a long-sought “safe consumption” site proponents say would help address problems with addiction and health in the city.

UPDATE: The proposed balancing package has been released including good news for the Capitol Hill homelessness outreach request and progress on a Seattle “CHEL”:

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Sawant finds no support on ‘legal and viable’ affordable housing proposals

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant found no support from her fellow City Council members Tuesday in her fight for increased spending for affordable housing as Seattle City Hall plods to a conclusion of the 2019-2020 budget process.

“What is not acceptable to me or the movement that is fighting for this is to do nothing or do very little,” the frustrated councilor said.

During Tuesday’s session, none of Sawant’s fellow council members were willing to join the Socialist Alternative firebrand in pushing a series of budget amendment proposals born of the “People’s Budget” process. Continue reading

Wanted: $55K to return homelessness outreach workers to Capitol Hill

At night, Seattle City Hall becomes an emergency shelter (Image: CHS)

The effort to fund homelessness outreach workers on Capitol Hill has shifted — the good news is the price is more clear but the challenge now will be getting City Hall and the Seattle City Council to find a way to help pay for it in time.

“Of all the central downtown neighborhoods, only Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Chinatown/ID don’t currently have homeless outreach services,” Egan Orion, director of the Broadway Business Improvement Area said. “We saw in the two-year pilot on Capitol Hill how single point of contact for businesses and residents alike and a full-time advocate for our unsheltered neighbors on the streets was a very compassionate and effective approach to issues of homelessness on the Hill.” Continue reading

Sawant and the People’s Budget rallies for increased funding for affordable housing, shelters

Socialist Alternative Party community organizer Kailyn Nicholson introduces Council member Kshama Sawant as the first speaker at the People’s Budget 2018 at Seattle City Hall, Saturday, October 6, 2018. This was Sawant’s fifth year hosting the People’s Budget. (Image: Ryan Phelan)

By Ryan Phelan, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Concerns for affordable housing, homeless shelters, tenants rights, workplace protections and Indigenous Peoples Day stoked criticism of the mayor’s proposed budget at the People’s Budget rally hosted by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant on Saturday.

“This budget that Mayor Durkan has proposed this year is not even a business as usual budget,” said Kailyn Nicholson, a community organizer for Socialist Alternative, Sawant’s political party. “This budget is even worse than that. This budget is flat out regressive.”

The People’s Budget, hosted at City Hall, is a political movement that rallies yearly for progressive change in the proposed Seattle budget. Several speakers and attendees focused on affordable housing initiatives. Less than 1% of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed budget is allocated for affordable housing, Sawant said. Continue reading

In midst of $5.9B Seattle budget process, proponents hope $100k+ needed for Capitol Hill homelessness outreach doesn’t get lost in the shuffle

With the Seattle budget process fully in motion, a coalition of groups representing three central city neighborhoods including Capitol Hill is working the phones and inboxes at City Hall to increase funding for homelessness outreach spending to help people living on the street in areas like Broadway and Pike/Pine get services and, hopefully, a safe place to find shelter and help.

Egan Orion of the Broadway Business Improvement Area said the group is “pushing to get more robust funding” and hopes to “lessen the burden on the neighborhood to fund” the outreach workers. The shops, restaurants, schools, and organizations he represents need the support and outreach, Orion says, is a better way to help the people struggling with homelessness and addiction in the neighborhood.

“Right now the only number they can call is 911 which isn’t effective because many business owners and employees are not wanting to contribute to criminalizing homelessness,” Orion said. “So this helps us get back to a saner system.” Continue reading

New ‘Leaves of Remembrance’ mark Broadway with memorials for those who died homeless

The bronze Broadway Dance Steps have been a mostly fun reminder of joy and frolic on Capitol Hill’s main drag. They have now been joined by a more somber reminder of the people who have lived and died on the streets of the neighborhood.

Sunday, All Pilgrims Church hosted a dedication for six new “Leaves of Remembrance,” a Seattle-wide project to mark the city with small, leaf-shaped memorials for people who have passed away while dealing with homelessness. Continue reading

Seattle Fire handles another Capitol Hill ‘derelict’ building fire

Seattle Fire spent the second morning in a row battling a stubborn fire in a reported abandoned building slated for demolition on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday morning, smoke was reported coming from a three-story “derelict” house along the Melrose connector trail near Bellevue Pl E around 7:15 AM. Arriving crews found a fire in the void space between the second and third floors. SFD reported the fire nearly under control after around 20 minutes at the scene but crews continued to work through the morning to fully extinguish the fire in the old house’s walls.

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