Central District Tiny House Village at 22nd and Union has one month to find new home

Four years after it debuted in the winter of 2016 and became one of the models for proponents of so-called bridge housing in Seattle, the 22nd and Union Tiny House Village has been given one month to find a new home.

In a letter sent two days after Christmas, the board of trustees at the Central District’s Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd notified village organizers that it is time to move on, saying the congregation plans to “continue our outreach to the homeless in our community” but will be “exploring new and possibly better ways to utilize our property.” Continue reading

With Seattle approval, King County Regional Homelessness Authority will take shape in 2020

The Seattle City Council, with strings attached, approved its part of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority Monday paving the way for the effort to launch next year.

CHS reported last week on an ordinance shaped by the council to enable the city to pull out portions of its planned $73 million in funding for the $132 million new county authority hoped to reorganize how homelessness services are planned and deployed across the county. Continue reading

Seattle to add $73M strings to its agreement on King County Regional Homelessness Authority

Instead of letting hopes for the new effort become mired in process, the Seattle City Council’s committee on homelessness approved plans Thursday for the formation of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority despite lingering concerns about Seattle’s power in the new effort.

The key? An accompanying ordinance that lays out Seattle’s asks for the new body and gives the council the power to yank the city’s  $73 million contribution to the regional effort if the priorities aren’t met: Continue reading

Regional Homelessness Agency faces key King County vote — and questions about Seattle’s power in the new authority

Seattle’s hopes for leading a regional approach to homelessness solutions could move forward Thursday with a key King County Council vote.

Thursday, the County Council’s Regional Policy committee is scheduled to vote on a $132 million plan that would create a new Regional Homelessness Agency bringing together elected officials from cities across the county to “administer and oversee regional homelessness efforts.” Continue reading

Inside Harborview Hall’s new ‘enhanced’ homeless shelter: a warm place to sleep, pets, laundry, and help around the clock

Harborview Hall’s overnight shelter now offers more than a stay in a warm place to sleep. There is now room for loyal companions, new showers and bathrooms, a place to do your laundry, and counselors are there to help people find a path off the streets. And, most importantly, the new “enhanced” shelter is now open around the clock, seven days a week to be ready for the people who require a stay when they need it most.

“For our homeless neighbors at Harborview Hall, the 24/7 facility will be their home-base as they work to improve their situation,” said Bill Dickinson of The Salvation Army in the Northwest. “They can visit the shelter throughout the day as needed – from hygiene necessities of showers and laundry, to meeting with caseworkers for guidance in transitioning to independent housing.”

Powered by a $2.2 million King County contract, the Salvation Army runs the show at the First Hill facility, using a bed reservation and referral system to fill the beds. In collaboration with neighboring Harborview Medical Center, the Salvation Army holds five beds open each night for patients who are receiving assistance from the hospital and need a shelter bed overnight. Continue reading

Sawant makes one last 2020 budget push to cut encampment sweeps team

The City Council’s final batch of proposed additions, cuts, and changes to the Seattle budget are on the table and District 3’s newly victorious incumbent Kshama Sawant is behind several of the options up for final debate.

Seattle City Council insight reports that most of the more than 40 items introduced Wednesday involve restrictions on the the use of already-budgeted funds, “provisos that prevent the expenditure of certain funds until some condition is met,” or statements of legislative intent. Continue reading

With city debating funding for encampment sweeps, business-backed homeless outreach team on Capitol Hill, First Hill and C-ID now complete

(Image: Margo Vansynghel)

“Hi there, outreach here. Anybody home?”

The outreach workers from the Evergreen Treatment Services REACH program don’t have a door to knock on, nor a doorstep to wait on, but that’s how they treat their approach to the tents scattered across a hillside near I-5 on First Hill.

Traversing the steep hill, the team goes from tent to tent, some of which shiver with the gusts of wind and rain. They hand out small packets of food (crackers and cheese) and bottles of water, ask people what they need if they can get them referred to a shelter for the night.

Standing high up on the slope, Sara Mar, the new homeless outreach coordinator for First Hill, gets a man a bus pass and a referral for shelter tonight. Yvonne Nelson, also with REACH, takes down the name of another woman who can get into an enhanced shelter tonight.  Continue reading

Seattle City Council 2020 budget tweaks include Tiny Home Villages, Capitol Hill ‘Public Life’ study, ‘mobile bathroom facilities’

The Seattle City Council unveiled its 2020 budget balancing package but further bad news about I-967 could mean another scramble before all is said and done.

Budget chair — and outgoing council member — Sally Bagshaw unveiled the package (PDF) of around 150 proposed additions and updates to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 2020 budget proposal Wednesday morning. CHS reported here on Durkan’s $6.5 billion 2020 budget plan where some of the big gains — and small, too — in the proposal come from “one-time” revenue infusions from events like the Mercer Megablock sale and public benefits cash received in exchange for public right of way used in the expansion of the downtown convention center. Continue reading

Seattle Fire’s new Health One team for homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues ready to hit the streets of Capitol Hill

(Image: Seattle.gov)

Seattle has a new team of first responders on its streets starting today. Staffed with specially trained Seattle Fire Department firefighters and a civilian social worker, Health One has rolled out to help address the issues of homelessness and basic human health needs that are swamping Seattle’s emergency services.

The new pilot program will be focused on the city’s downtown core — including Capitol Hill — providing “alternatives to transporting individuals to emergency departments” and “allowing SFD units to focus on emergencies like structure fire and vehicle collisions,” the city says.

“We are taking an important step for a healthier downtown. As our city grows, our ability to deliver emergency and non-emergency responses needs to keep up. Here in Seattle, we pioneered Medic One, which became the gold standard in emergency health response and now we are pioneering Health One for non-emergency cases,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in the launch announcement Continue reading

Clean-up vs. outreach — A 2020 budget battle builds over team on frontlines of Seattle’s homelessness response

“A member of the Navigation Team checks to see if anyone is in this tent and is interested in a to-go bag of food and water provided by neighbors,” the city says of this image posted to seattle.gov. The Navigation Team is also the city’s answer to clearing illegal encampments. (Image: City of Seattle)

A Kshama Sawant budget proposal to defund the city’s crew assigned to clearing out homeless encampments has the mayor’s office firing back but the Seattle City Council still might move to cut back the team.

Sawant’s proposal discussed Thursday would move more than $8 million lined up for the homeless response Navigation Team to “redirect those funds for other homeless services.”

A competing proposal from West Seattle rep Lisa Herbold would attach quarterly performance measurements to the mayor’s funding of the program.

It is also possible additional proposals for cutting back — or growing — the Nav Team will emerge as the budget process plays out into November.

The city describes the Navigation Team as “a specially trained team comprised of outreach workers paired with Seattle Police Department (SPD) personnel.” Continue reading