The City of Seattle will convert the City Light owned building located at 157 Roy Street into an emergency shelter to help serve individuals living unsheltered on Seattle streets. The shelter will open this fall in two phases. The first phase is for 50 beds and the second phase is for an additional 50 beds after substantial alterations required by the building code are complete.
“Emergency shelter opens the door to human services and a safe place to sleep for a person experiencing a crisis of homelessness,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The Roy Street property is currently vacant at a time when 3,000 people are sleeping on our streets. Working with DESC, we are fulfilling our commitment for additional shelter beds, a central recommendation from my Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness.”
In April 2015, Mayor Murray announced that he planned to partner with the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) to fund operations of a new 100 bed shelter in a City of Seattle-owned property. At that time a total of $350,000 was identified as the ongoing operating cost to fund the shelter. Since then, the Human Services Department and Finance and Administrative Services Department identified the Roy Street location as a City-owned property that is appropriate for temporary housing. The City of Seattle will use Human Services Department general funds to cover the cost of operating the shelter in 2015. This shelter will be managed by the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC).
“The Downtown Emergency Service Center is proud to partner with the City of Seattle to enhance the safety of our most vulnerable residents,” said Daniel Malone, Downtown Emergency Service Center Executive Director. “I appreciate Mayor Ed Murray’s leadership addressing the region’s homelessness crisis.”
“The Human Services Department is pleased to partner with Downtown Emergency Service Center, an experienced homelessness service provider to operate the overnight shelter for medically fragile seniors at this new shelter,” said Catherine Lester, Seattle Human Services Department Director. “This partnership with DESC will also facilitate the pilot of a portfolio of services for shelter residents with the goal of getting them on the path to permanent housing within the federal goal of 20 days.”
The shelter is for adult men who are over 60 years of age or are disabled. The shelter will operate from 10 pm to 6 am. The men will be screened and referred from the downtown DESC location to prevent queuing lines outside the shelter.
Daytime access to the shelter will be limited to janitorial services and shelter staff.
To ensure the safety of the shelter stayers, three awake and alert shelter staff will be on duty during shelter sleeping hours to keep diligent watch for fires, obstructions to exits, and any other hazards during the time that people are sleeping. Food preparation at the site will be limited to reheating of food in microwaves. The on-site commercial washer and dryers for shelter linens will be operated by shelter staff only.
This announcement aligns with the Homeless Investment Analysis, which highlighted the need to work with service providers in a new, collaborative manner to ensure Seattle’s unsheltered homeless residents can quickly access shelter, be matched with a housing resource, and receive assistance in finding permanent, affordable housing. Today’s announcement is also in response to the recommendation by the Mayor’s Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness to consider the use of City-owned facilities and shelters. This task force was created in October 2014 to develop recommendations addressing the growing number of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle.
Human Services Department and DESC staff will hold a community meeting to discuss the shelter on July 28th at 6:00 pm in the Seattle Center Armory Loft Room #2 (305 Harrison Street). View a campus map.
The Seattle Human Services Department is one of the largest contributors to Seattle’s safety net as it provides $99 million in funding through 522 contracts to nearly 200 agencies that support Seattle’s most vulnerable residents each year. The department works closely with its community partners, including other public and nonprofit funders and service providers, to understand current and emerging human service needs, and to create and invest in a comprehensive and integrated regional human services system.