Tag Archives: Homeless Shelters

Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


A three-week standoff between mutual-aid volunteers and the City of Seattle over a row of tents across the street from City Hall ended abruptly this morning, March 9, in a surprise sweep spearheaded by police and the Seattle parks department, who cordoned off Third and Fourth Avenues between Cherry and Washington Streets and began ordering people out of their tents at 8:00 am. (The parks department posted removal signs at 6:00 a.m., giving anyone who happened to be awake just two hours to pack up and get out.)

Continue reading Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

Pallet, a For-Profit Provider of Utilitarian Shelters, Could Be a Contender for County Funding

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Over the past two years, a broad consensus emerged that non-congregate shelter — hotel rooms, tiny houses, and other kinds of physically separated spaces — was both healthier and more humane than the typical pre-pandemic congregate shelter setup, in which dozens of people sleep inches apart on cots or on the ground. When people are offered a choice between semi-congregate shelter and more private spaces, they’re far more likely to “accept” a hotel room or tiny house, and once there, they’re more likely to find housing than they would in traditional congregate shelters.

In January, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) issued a request for proposals for almost $5 million to fund new non-congregate shelter spaces. (An RFP is a preliminary step in the process of selecting and funding nonprofit service providers.) The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which operates a dozen tiny house villages in and around Seattle, applied, as did Seattle’s JustCARE program, which offers hotel-based shelter and case management to people with complex behavioral health challenges and criminal justice involvement.

Continue reading Pallet, a For-Profit Provider of Utilitarian Shelters, Could Be a Contender for County Funding

NEWS GLEAMS: Cold Weather Shelters, Recovery Fund for Rainier Valley Businesses, & More

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!


✨Gleaming This Week✨

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: Cold Weather Shelters, Recovery Fund for Rainier Valley Businesses, & More

Cold Weather Shelter Plan Illustrates Challenges With Encampment Elimination Proposals

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared in PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


As temperatures dipped below freezing Tuesday, Feb. 22, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCHRA) announced the opening of a single, nighttime-only shelter for up to 96 single adults at City Hall. The shelter will open at 7 p.m. and close at 6:30 a.m. Two additional shelters are opening for young adults and unaccompanied youth — one in Rainier Beach and one at the Orion Center near downtown. (Details and updates, including information about shelters outside Seattle, are available on the KCRHA website.)

Continue reading Cold Weather Shelter Plan Illustrates Challenges With Encampment Elimination Proposals

As COVID Cases at Shelters Rise, Many Are Reluctant to Enter County Quarantine Sites

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


An alarming increase in COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness has been exacerbated in recent weeks, homeless service providers say, by rumors that if people enter a County-run isolation and quarantine site, they won’t be allowed to leave.

And even before these rumors began circulating widely, many unhoused people who tested positive for COVID-19 were reluctant to enter isolation and quarantine, for reasons that ranged from active substance use to the fear that if they left an encampment, they would lose everything they had — a not unreasonable assumption, given the recent uptick in encampment sweeps.

“The resistance, in my experience, has been across the board,” Dr. Cyn Kotarski, medical director for the Public Defender Association (PDA), said. “I haven’t met anyone so far who doesn’t have some fear and some resistance to go, and that’s mostly just because it’s overwhelming. It can feel pretty scary to think that you don’t know where you’re going or why, especially when you’re taking someone out of their own environment and their own community,” Kotarski said. The PDA is a partner on several efforts, including Co-LEAD and JustCAREare, to move unsheltered people into hotels during the pandemic.

Continue reading As COVID Cases at Shelters Rise, Many Are Reluctant to Enter County Quarantine Sites

Colleen Echohawk Joins YouthCare as Interim CEO

by Ben Adlin


Youth housing and services provider YouthCare, which operates an emergency shelter for young adults in Rainier Beach, announced Wednesday, Sept. 15, that longtime affordable housing advocate and former Seattle mayoral candidate Colleen Echohawk has joined the organization as interim CEO. 

Echohawk, who last May stepped down from a seven-year stint as executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a Native-led housing nonprofit based in Pioneer Square, said she’s “honored” to step into the leadership role at YouthCare.

“To me this seems like a very natural fit, to jump in alongside the staff and the executive team and the board at YouthCare to support their work [and] to provide some leadership, especially around the areas of diversity and inclusion and racial justice,” she told the Emerald. “That is the heart of the work that I get to do, and I’m excited to join a team that has been providing some of the most essential care for youth here in Seattle.”

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County Purchases First Hotel to Provide Shelter to Those Without It

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


In his State of the County Address Tuesday, May 11, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that the County would purchase the Inn at Queen Anne, which has been serving as a temporary shelter operated by Catholic Community Services (CCS) since April of last year.

The 80-room hotel, which CCS will continue to operate, will cost the county $16.5 million; the money will come from the new “health through housing” sales tax that the County Council passed — with some notable abstentions from suburban cities — late last year. The County plans to purchase “several more properties in several more cities … in the coming weeks,” Constantine said in his address.

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Seattle Rejects Biden Administration Offer to Pay Full Cost of Hotel-Based Shelters

by Erica C. Barnett 


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 

As funding runs out for JustCARE, a program that has moved more than 100 very high-needs people from tent encampments in Pioneer Square and the International District into hotels where they receive case management and services, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office has made it clear that it considers one source of funding off the table: money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), which recently announced it would pay 100% of the cost for eligible hotel-based shelters.

“While we appreciate the work of President Biden’s administration,” City Budget Office Director Ben Noble and Office of Emergency Management Director Curry Mayer wrote in a letter to Seattle City Councilmembers this week, “there continues to be no option to receive 100% reimbursement of the operation and services of non-congregate shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness in King County or Washington.” In other words, the City is grateful that the new administration is offering to pay for hotels; they just don’t consider it a viable option for Seattle.

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A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic

by Ashley Archibald


In a video posted to YouTube, a woman in a blue surgical mask stands in the corner of a walled-off yard, a puffy, slate gray jacket zipped against the cold. To her right is a table draped with a white cloth holding 19 votive candle holders. Slowly, deliberately, the woman reads a list of names.

“Azhane Mitchell.”

“Charles Lingenfelter.”

“Christopher Mann.”

In the silence following each name, a man lights a candle.

Continue reading A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic

Homelessness Authority Weighs in on Battle Over Future of Renton Shelter (and Shelters in Renton)

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (RHA) held a previously unscheduled meeting of its implementation board last night to discuss how to respond to a City of Renton proposal that would shut down a shelter run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) at the Red Lion hotel in Renton. The legislation would also ban most, if not all, homeless shelters from the city.

Continue reading Homelessness Authority Weighs in on Battle Over Future of Renton Shelter (and Shelters in Renton)