Since before the COVID-19 outbreak reached King County, the City has taken measures to ensure those with and without shelter have the resources they need to stay safe. Building on that work, yesterday the City announced the opening of a temporary expanded capacity shelter at Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, creating 79 new spaces for current shelter clients.
The Fisher Pavilion shelter will serve clients from Salvation Army’s overnight-only City Hall shelters. With the opening of this new facility, the Salvation Army and its clients will be able to better follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The shelter also provides space at Fisher Pavilion for people to safely shelter.
Under normal circumstances Fisher Pavilion could provide 146 spaces, but given the need to increase space between individuals, it will provide 79 spaces. By reducing the overnight capacity at City Hall shelters by 79 people, clients and staff at both the City Hall and Fisher Pavilion shelters will be able to better practice social distancing. The City Hall shelters will cap the number of overnight clients in order to better adhere to social distancing guidelines. The Fisher Pavilion shelter may only be utilized for a limited period of time during the COVID-19 response as the City identifies more sheltering options to meet the need during this public health crisis.
In an expansion of services, clients staying at Fisher Pavilion will have 24/7 access to the building. Meals and cleaning services will also be provided. Fisher Pavilion will not be open to walk-ins.
Kudos to the HSD and other City staff who came out to Fisher Pavilion last Friday to move and open boxes, take cots out of bags, unfold them, and add two support beams at each end to set up beds for opening this week!
For weeks, the City and County have deployed unprecedented resources and measures to help those experiencing homelessness during this public health emergency. The City’s Navigation Team is a part of that effort and continues to conduct critical outreach to vulnerable people living unsheltered during the COVID-19 response.
Since the first case of COVID was confirmed in King County, the team has focused on getting important public health information out to people living unsheltered and distributing hygiene kits. The team has also continued making referrals to shelter during the public health crisis, and remains one of the few groups continuing to provide critical outreach in the field during the pandemic.
Since this crisis began the team has spoken to over 2,369 people regarding #COVID19, providing 1,382 hygiene kits and distributing 1,306 Public Health flyers. Team members have also made 28 referrals to shelters, encountered 22 persons with COVID-19 symptoms, and referred 12 persons for medical care.
Outreach will continue to unmanaged encampments and to RV encampment sites during the COVID-19 response. The team remains one of the City’s front-line responses and its continued work supports the Human Services Department Continuity of Operations Plan, which requires continued efforts to support people living unsheltered during a crisis. Additionally, the team will connect people to the recently announced expanded hygiene services.
Where to get the most up-to-date public health information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DOH, and PHSKC have issued specific guidance to help communities and businesses prepare. You can find guidance for the general public, schools, workplaces and employers, travelers and health care professionals as well as a more detailed Q&A here.