In September, King County announced plans to build a new shelter for the unhoused in SoDo, near the CID. The plan was highly controversial as there had been little to no outreach from the County to the CID about the proposal before the plan was announced. The County even seemed to avoid community input by scheduling public hearings during weekday work hours, preventing attendance from many working residents.
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Friday that in response to “community feedback,” the County will abandon plans to provide new shelter beds and a sobering center on vacant land next to the existing 270-bed Salvation Army shelter in SoDo. In a statement, Constantine said, “It is clear that building trust and resolving underlying concerns about the conditions in the community today will take considerable time before we can move forward with any added service capacity.”
Residents and business owners of the Chinatown-International District (CID) are just now hearing about a $66.5 million, 6.8-acre project to expand and enhance a shelter that will house over 500 people with support for 50 RVs and a 50-home tiny house village. It was approved by the King County Council in partnership with Seattle and the King County Regional Homeless Authority. For a complex that opens this fall, these decisions were made without any meaningful community outreach or engagement. This follows a long history of policies that have been forced on the CID with no engagement or outreach. This is systemic racism.