City says tents to be cleared from area around Capitol Hill church by Seattle’s homelessness Unified Care Team

The City of Seattle team dedicated to homelessness outreach and “resolution” of camps is slated to clear tents, belongings, and debris from encampments that have formed on the blocks around 13th and Howell on Capitol Hill before the end of the month.

The tents and camping have been the subject of complaints including concerns from parishioners and officials at the area’s Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption. “They are afraid to come. We want them to get [the homeless] help, we want them to get off the streets,” the church community’s president told KOMO. “We don’t have the infrastructure as a small church to do that ourselves.”

The situation has now been widely reported and picked up at the national level by outlets including Fox News.

A spokesperson for the King County Regional Homelessness Authority provided a statement to CHS that echoed what the organization has been telling national media. “We are aware of this particular encampment, and are in communication with outreach teams, but the need for housing and outreach is much greater than current capacity,” the spokesperson said, referring CHS to Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office and the City Hall department that remains tasked with clearances of camps in the city despite the formation of the regional authority. Continue reading

‘Rapid Acquisition’ — Another market-rate development on Capitol Hill will shift to affordable housing with LIHI’s $21M deal for Harvard Ave E building

The design rendering for the Harvard Lofts building

(Image: LIHI)

It’s a seller’s market for medium-sized, newly constructed Capitol Hill apartment buildings. Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute announced this week it has acquired another building on Capitol Hill with its $21 million purchase of the Harvard Lofts development with plans to offer housing to people at risk of homelessness.

“Thank you to City of Seattle Office of Housing and the State Department of Commerce Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition program for funding,” LIHI said in its announcement. “These public investments enable people living temporarily in tiny houses, shelters and those on the street to secure permanent housing.”

The deal for the newly constructed building just a block or so west from Capitol Hill Station comes amid a flurry of affordable housing activity in the area powered by the Rapid Acquisition program part of the federal American Rescue Plan that allows Seattle and the Washington State Department of Commerce to leverage local, state, and federal funding in grants to organizations like LIHI. Continue reading

After $38M Capitol Hill acquisition, YWCA opening new affordable building in 2023 — UPDATE

A design rendering of the building

By Jadenne Radoc Cabahug, CHS reporting intern

By summer, the northeast corner of E Denny and Harvard across from Twice Sold Tales and the Pantages House will open 93 new affordable homes for residents at risk of homelessness after YWCA’s $38 million deal to acquire a planned microhousing development.

The YWCA Seattle King Snohomish chapter acquired the new building on 800 E Denny Way to be used as permanent affordable housing designated to address barriers for low-income households that are at-risk or experiencing homelessness in Seattle. The building has 93 units that are studios and one-bedroom.

CORRECTION: CHS originally reported the building would be focused on providing LGBTQIA+ inclusive housing for women. YWCA has clarified that the building “will be open to people of all genders.”

“This is one community project that we hope will be a benefit to those that want to live in Capitol Hill, and particularly in the Seattle area where it’s very expensive to live,” Patricia Hayden, YWCA’s chief program officer of King County said. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Knitting together mutual aid with warm hats and winter socks in Cal Anderson Park

As scary as their name might sound, the Capitol Hill Knitters of Doom brought gifts of joy and warmth to Cal Anderson Park last week, a good reminder that we probably all can do small things to help bring more comfort to the neighborhood.

“Those who knit and crochet (are) those who are naturally generous,” one knitter told a television news crew there to cover the group’s efforts. “We all make so much more than we can use ourselves.” Continue reading

To help find more units for people experiencing homelessness to become renters, Regional Homelessness Authority landlord incentive program provides ‘guaranteed rent’ and ‘good tenant’ coaching

(Image: City of Seattle)

Seattle’s small landlords and those involved with family-owned properties could become a bigger part of solutions to the region’s housing crisis under a new incentive program from the Regional Homelessness Authority designed to make it easier for people without a place to live to rent existing units in the city.

The new package offers private building owners including smaller owners of individual properties incentives including guaranteed rent payment managed by a third party, “good tenant” and “good landlord” coaching to help people transition into the rental environment, and ongoing “human services” support from the authority in exchange for using “alternative screening criteria to promote maximum acceptance of referrals” from the program. Continue reading

Seattle’s smaller homeless sweeps continue including Nagle Place encampment

The city continues to conduct smaller sweeps and camp clearances around Seattle including a scheduled “remediation” Friday on Nagle Place west of Cal Anderson.

Notices went up about the planned clearance of a few tents near the park earlier this week. The typical City of Seattle process includes placing outreach workers in the area in the days running up to announced clearances to inform encampment residents of shelter and service options. Continue reading

Mayor pushes for budget support for Unified Care Team plan ‘to make neighborhoods and public spaces clean and accessible’

The Harrell administration is making the case for new spending to support a proposed Unified Care Team plan that would help maintain “clean and accessible Seattle neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces” including sweeping encampments and clearing tents from public spaces like parks.

The proposal comes as part of Mayor Bruce Harrell’s focus on public safety and cleanliness that he has coupled with proposals to provide more services and housing to address the city’s homelessness crisis.

This week, Harrell has called on the Seattle City Council to support the plan including nearly $40 million for “clean city, trash mitigation, encampment resolution, and RV remediation initiatives” —

  • $38.2 million to maintain and improve current levels of service for clean city, trash mitigation, encampment resolution, and RV remediation initiatives. This will ensure communities do not see a reduction in service levels by providing ongoing funding, and replaces current temporary jobs with permanent, full-time roles. Continue reading

Regional Homelessness Authority says progress in sweeping encampments from along I-5 in Seattle

An I-5 camp (Image: City of Seattle)

Local officials say a program to fund removal of encampments from state property along I-5 has successfully cleared three camps in Seattle including one near the base of Capitol Hill at the Olive Way onramp to I-5.

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority announced the latest “successful encampment resolution this week under Gov. Jay Inslee’s Right of Way Safety Initiative and its $144 million in statewide funding for the removals along the busy freeway up and down the state. The KCRHA says the state has already provided $13.8 million in funds for “the first round of encampment work in King County.”

The latest clearance under the program moved 75 people “previously living unsheltered” at I-5 and Dearborn to “shelter, lodging, inpatient treatment, and housing resources,” the KCRHA said, touting its “intensive six-week” process to provide outreach and clear the camp. Continue reading

City sweeps large Belmont homeless encampment

The largest homeless encampment remaining on Capitol Hill was cleared by city crews Thursday.

CHS reported in late July that Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office had identified the Belmont at Denny camp “a priority site” for clearance after ongoing public safety issues including shootings and assaults at the cluster of tents set up on the parking strip and sidewalk along Belmont. Continue reading

Mayor’s office calls Belmont encampment ‘a priority site’ as police investigate another shooting

Some of the tents along Belmont (Image: CHS)

Police are investigating after a fight and attempted shooting reported Thursday night at the large encampment area that has formed along Belmont Ave E at Denny as officials say the site has been prioritized for outreach and removal after ongoing reports of public safety issues including gun violence and fires.

“This encampment is a priority site for the city,” a spokesperson for Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office told CHS earlier this week before Thursday night’s gunplay. “It is on the list to receive upcoming outreach with the goal of connecting those living onsite with shelter before an encampment removal.”

With a faster response to providing shelter and housing outreach and clearing even small camps on Capitol Hill under the Harrell administration, the stretch of Belmont across from Goodwill has grown into the largest camp in the neighborhood. Continue reading