An effort to “de-intensify” Seattle’s homeless shelters by giving people more space and greater social distance as part of the city’s COVID-19 response will create a 50-bed temporary shelter at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center.
The new facility from Compass Housing Alliance will create a location for the shelter and service provider to offer as it works to help slow the spread of the virus.
“King County and the City of Seattle are working closely with higher capacity shelter providers to create more social distancing between individuals, which can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” a statement on the new temporary facility reads.
A total of 685 expansion spaces are being created as part of the effort.
A 50-bed facility will also open in the Central District at the Garfield Community Center hosted by Catholic Community Services, YWCA, and WHEEL.
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Both shelters are slated to open by this Friday, March 27th.
The de-intensifying is part of several efforts to combat the outbreak and help the more than 12,000 homeless and under sheltered people living in Seattle.
Over the weekend, CHS reported on a new isolation and recovery center “primarily for people who do not have a home to rest and recover” taking over the enhanced shelter facility inside First Hill’s Harborview Hall. To make way for the new COVID-19 center in the 9th Ave building, the Salvation Army shelter will be moved to the former county records building at 1215 E Fir that was made available by the Seattle Housing Authority to aid in the COVID emergency response effort, according to the county announcement.
“Individuals can only be placed into these sites after Public Health has determined that they need isolation or quarantine,” the county’s announcement reads. “Every person prioritized for placement will receive an assignment to a specific location and receive transportation to and from the site, where they will receive individual health monitoring and all meals and basic needs will be met for the duration of their stay.”
Some sites will have “enhanced health and behavioral health services,” the county says, and individuals with “higher intensity needs will be prioritized to those sites.”
There is also a new Tiny House Village in the area to help put more people in more stable housing. A new Cherry village at at 612 22nd Ave will be run by the Low Income Housing Institute nonprofit that operates the city’s other tiny house facilities. It is adding 30 new homes to the street.
Staff with King County’s Department of Community and Human Services and the Seattle Human Services Department are also working with all shelter and day service providers to proper social distancing guidelines are being followed and to assist with access to hygiene and sanitation supplies.
Meanwhile, around 70 City Hall employees have been “cross-trained in shelter operations” to help the agencies operating the facilities. City staff from Seattle Parks and the Seattle Center will also be on hand.
“In the last three weeks, the City of Seattle and King County have worked quickly to rapidly create more than 1,600 spaces for individuals experiencing homelessness so we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in an announcement about the new community center shelters and efforts to help the city’s under-housed population. “This unprecedented deployment of resources at a local level will need the continued support of our state and federal government to create additional facilities with personnel and resources,” Durkan said.
CHS reported here on ways to help the efforts and grassroots organizations also working to make sure everybody in Seattle has a chance to stay healthy.