Seattle City Council makes tweaks to $970M housing levy spending plan ‘with focus on homelessness prevention’

In business wrapped up before the Independence Day holiday, the Seattle City Council heard updates on spending powered by the $970 million voter-approved housing levy and signed-off on adjustments that council members say will increase spending on “homelessness prevention.”

Councilmember Cathy Moore, (District 5, North Seattle) and chair of the House and Human Services Committee, says the changes will allow the city build the 3,000 “desperately-needed affordable homes” initially promised under the 2023 levy, while also growing opportunities for first-time home ownership, and “vastly” expanding rental assistance “to proactively prevent homelessness.” Continue reading

As Capitol Hill business group eyes ‘ambassadors,’ We Deliver Care says it needs $2.6M for 3rd Ave in 2025

A non-profit company formed to provide “community ambassadors” to provide “non-violent de-escalation” along Seattle’s troubled 3rd Ave says it needs $640,000 to continue its work through the end of the year and another $2.6 million for 2025.

We Deliver Care is asking the Seattle City Council to consider the funding as it says its work with “people experiencing homelessness, poverty, or criminal activity” is working on the challenged downtown street.

The ambassadors “reverse opioid overdoses, reduce loitering, help get unhoused people indoors, and provide non-emergency responses to public safety concerns,” a city council brief on the program reads. Continue reading

With summer groundbreaking, The Constellation Center will rise with job training plus eight stories of affordable housing at Broadway and Pine

Work to construct The Constellation Center begins soon

Construction is finally set to begin this summer on The Constellation Center, a new $37 million center of education and training and eight stories of affordable housing that will bring together young adult homelessness service provider YouthCare, affordable housing provider Community Roots Housing, Seattle Central College, FareStart, the King County Center for Education and Career Opportunities and more to create “a hub of workforce development services” in the heart of Capitol Hill at Broadway and Pine.

“This will be a valuable resource center, connecting youth to a wide range of opportunities and support, both on site and in the community. Through this effort, service providers, businesses, post-secondary education, and neighbors will come together to work towards empowering our future leaders and helping them achieve their full potential,” YouthCare says about the project.

“Investing in YouthCare will help us build a hub of hope, resilience, and purpose for young people as they gain skills, develop connections, and become ready for livable wage jobs to sustain their futures,” YouthCare CEO Degale Cooper said in a statement earlier this year.

Originally planned for a 2022 start of construction, the 80,000-square-foot center will be on track for a 2026 opening with a groundbreaking planned for this summer. Continue reading

King County Regional Homelessness Authority picks federal Health and Human Services official as next CEO

Kinnison

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority still faces an uncertain future but finally has a new CEO to help it steer through financial challenges as it takes on the region’s ongoing crisis.

The authority announced US Department of Health and Human Services policy director Kelly Kinnison has accepted the role. The authority has been without a permanent leader since founding CEO Marc Dones stepped down a year ago amid criticism of his $11 billion plan for establishing the organization.

Kinnison currently serves as the director of family and community policy at the Department of Health and Human Services.

She will be faced with daunting numbers. CHS reported here on the authority’s latest count which estimated nearly 10,000 people are living without shelter in King County with another 6,600 counted in shelter systems. Continue reading

Pike/Pine safety plan? ‘Reinvigorating’ Cal Anderson Park, more cops, neighborhood ambassadors, and catenary lights

Catenary lights above Nagle (Image: @blitzurbanism)

With reporting by Nova Berger, CHS Intern

District 3 representative Joy Hollingsworth says a mix of safety initiatives, increased police presence, support for local businesses, cleaning up the neighborhood, and more resources to help with people struggling with mental health, addiction, and homelessness are needed to fully address safety concerns in Pike/Pine.

“I’m embarrassed about what’s been going on in the neighborhood,” Hollingsworth said Thursday in a meeting with Capitol Hill business representatives organized by the Greater Seattle Business Association that followed a neighborhood tour this spring that gave Hollingsworth and officials from Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office and the East Precinct a first-hand look at the challenges neighborhood business and property owners say are the result of open drug dealing and drug use and street disorder in the area surrounding Cal Anderson Park and the Broadway and Pike QFC.

A man had just “dropped trow right in the street” in front of her on the way to the meeting with Hollingsworth, one business owner complained.

The situation around Broadway and Pike and on the edges of Cal Anderson needs emergency attention, attendees at Thursday’s session agreed but they and Hollingsworth acknowledged that even issues as seemingly simple as providing public restrooms are not easy in present day Seattle. Cal Anderson’s bathroom is typically busted or locked — or locked and busted — and chemical toilets in the area are quickly trashed. During the April public safety tour, one was set on fire.

Business representatives at Thursday’s meeting said problems around the area are starting to stack up. Continue reading

Authority says 2024 count of people living homeless shows totals still climbing as county’s lack of affordable housing grows

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority says its annual survey shows that there are more people living homeless here than last year.

The authority has released its 2024 Point-in-Time Count, the second year it has relied on “respondent-driven sampling” methods to extrapolate the number of people living unsheltered in the county by focusing on those utilizing local shelter resources.

According to the 2024 count, the authority estimates nearly 10,000 people are living without shelter in King County compared with around 6,600 counted in shelter systems. In total, the authority says the population of those experiencing homelessness either sheltered or unsheltered has climbed 23% from when it began using the methodology.

King County last reported a total population of about 2.3 million people. Continue reading

Police: Evidence links First Hill ax murder suspect to killing of homeless man in 12th Ave alley

A memorial to Paul Ewell (Image: United Way of King County)

Seattle Police say they have evidence that Liam Kryger, the First Hill resident jailed and charged in the bloody ax killing outside Seattle’s Town Hall in February, also used the weapon to slaughter a man sleeping in a 12th Ave alley 12 days earlier.

Detectives say mobile phone and video evidence shows Kryger carrying the ax behind the office building of the Seattle Men’s Chorus where 68-year-old Paul Ewell was found murdered early on February 10th with injuries “created by a heavy sharp object similar to a hatchet, axe, or maul” indicating “there were at least three such strikes to his head.” Continue reading

Cal Anderson homeless encampment ‘obstruction clean-up’ came during search for killer

While Seattle Police detectives were spending the overnight hours secretly watching for a suspect feared to be preying on people sleeping outside in the area’s streets and parks, city clearance crews were also being dispatched to clear encampments around Capitol Hill.

In one example, according to a SPD brief on the inclusion of their personnel to provide security for the “obstruction clean-up” operation, Seattle Parks and Recreation and SDOT led a clean-up along Nagle Place on the west edge of Cal Anderson last Friday morning out of concerns around the attacks.

“Recent incidents of stabbings and assaults in the area prompted the request for immediate intervention,” the brief reads. Continue reading

First Hill man arrested in ax murder as Seattle Police secretly searched for suspect preying on homeless — UPDATE: CHARGED

The Town Hall murder scene (Image: SPD)

Details from Chief Adrian Diaz of the arrest of a First Hill resident in the brutal ax murder of a homeless man outside 8th Ave’s Town Hall last month reveal Seattle Police were secretly tracking a possible killer preying on Seattle’s unhoused.

Liam Kryger, 25, is being held in King County Jail on $5 million bail after being arrested by SWAT and police Sunday at Spruce and Broadway near his 10th Ave First Hill apartment. Prosecutors say they expect a charging decision in the case Wednesday.

Diaz revealed details of Kryger’s arrest two weeks after the killing in a lightly attended press conference Monday night as he described the SPD detective work that led to police pursuing a suspect carrying an ax early Saturday into Freeway Park. Diaz says the suspect was able to escape but dropped the ax.

Police were able to trace the ax to a February purchase at the Lowe’s store on Rainier Ave. Kryger was identified as the purchaser after a department of corrections officer recognized him from images police obtained of the home improvement store transaction.

According to the police report and initial court documents in the case, 52-year-old Daravuth Van was murdered as he camped near First Hill’s Town Hall, suffering a crushing blow to the head. Continue reading

Police investigating new Seattle hit and run attacks after homeless man run over while sleeping on North Capitol Hill sidewalk — UPDATE

A homeless man who survived being run over while sleeping on the sidewalk along Capitol Hill’s 19th Ave E appears to have been intentionally targeted.

Seattle Police say they are investigating two similar attacks that took place within hours across Seattle early last Saturday morning that sent two people to the hospital after a driver drove onto sidewalks and struck them.

In the Capitol Hill attack, a 39-year-old man suffered lower body injuries and was rushed to Harborview after being run over while sleeping near 19th and Prospect in front of a stretch of businesses including the neighborhood’s Windermere real estate office on the block mixed with single family-style homes and a small business strip.

“The victim was asleep on the sidewalk when he was struck by a vehicle,” SPD’s brief on the February 17th, 3:50 AM incident reads. “The suspect vehicle ran over the victim’s legs and then fled the scene.” Continue reading