The City of Seattle and King County announced a number of additional steps over the last week to further expand hygiene services and add new shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness. This expansion of resources is a continuation of ongoing work by the City and County to bring critically needed resources to those most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southwest Teen Life Center to open as de-intensifying shelter for YouthCare program
The City’s Southwest Teen Life Center will temporarily shelter up to 30 young adults from YouthCare’s Jackson Street overnight shelter. The move provides 24/7 shelter space, supportive services, and more space for social distancing per public health guidance. The program supports youth between the ages of 18 to 24. Youth will be provided access to showers and three meals per day.
Elliott Avenue modular pilot project opens to offer shelter beds and services to fight COVID-19
Yesterday, King County Executive Dow Constantine invited media to join in a tour of the newly completed Elliott Avenue enhanced shelter located at 551 Elliott Avenue West in Seattle that will offer safe housing and 24/7 onsite services for about 45 people currently experiencing homelessness. King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles who represents Council District 4 joined the tour, along with staff of Catholic Community Services, the contract service provider.
The first guests at the enhanced shelter site are men currently staying at the St. Martin de Porres nightly shelter in Seattle. Most are age 55 or older and some have other existing health conditions that place them at higher risk of COVID complications should they contract the virus. Moving to this location gives them a safe place to be day and night, access to health and behavioral health care, monitoring for any symptoms of COVID-19, and showers and laundry facilities for better health and hygiene. Pets are welcome.
The homelessness crisis is not new in King County, but the advent of the coronavirus in our communities has intensified the struggle and challenge of living without shelter. The Elliott Avenue modulars will offer safe housing, access to health and behavioral health care and other onsite services that will not only help residents keep safe now, but also begin to build a pathway out of homelessness.Dow Constantine, King County Executive
The Elliott shelter was planned as a pilot to test the use of movable modular buildings to create housing and shelter … and is located in Interbay on King County land, owned by the Department of Natural Resources and Parks Wastewater Division. The land is available for about two years, and the movable buildings make it possible to relocate the entire project to another site at a later date. This is a temporary use for the property. The long-term use has not been determined.
These new de-intensifying shelters continue to build on previous efforts by the City and King County to reduce density in large, high capacity shelters to slow the spread of COVID-19. While de-intensification efforts have focused on improving health conditions for existing shelter clients, these de-intensifying shelters also offer expanded services for many clients including the provision of meals, hygiene and cleaning services, and 24/7 access to a safe space that they are not required to leave every morning.
Update: Loyal Heights Community Center de-intensifying shelter
Loyal Heights Community Center has been available since April for a service provider to use for de-intensifying efforts. To date, no service provider has requested use of this site. The City will keep this facility available in the event a service provider needs space to move clients to. Seattle Human Services is in frequent contact with shelter providers and has made known this facility remains available to them if needed.
These shelters are part of the City’s overall effort to create more safe spaces for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis. De-intesfying efforts alone have created nearly 400 safer 24/7 spaces for shelter clients.
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.