Bellevue City Council prepares for Eastgate shelter decision

  • Sunday, April 16, 2017 1:30am
  • News

The Bellevue City Council could take action to move forward with siting the proposed Eastside men’s shelter and supportive housing project at the Eastgate site during its April 17 meeting.

Responding to high interest within the community, councilmembers approved additional time for public comment during the council meeting for residents to share their thoughts on the issue. Under the amended rules, proponents and opponents will be permitted up to five speakers, speaking for up to three minutes each.

Residents cite a possible increase in crime as the No. 1 reason for preventing the shelter, but myriad other reasons have prompted more than 2,800 people from around Bellevue to sign a petition demanding the city find a different location for the homeless shelter.

As proposed, the shelter and supportive housing facility would share 4.3 acres in the Eastgate neighborhood on King County-owned land, with the Eastgate Public Health Center. The site is adjacent to the Eastgate Park and Ride and near Bellevue College.

The shelter would operate under a low-barrier model, meaning the facility generally would not turn anyone in need away; however strict standards for behavior and clear protocols for anyone not meeting those standards would be part of the operating model. The primary goals are to protect homeless men from severe weather, connect them with services and ultimately put them on the path towards sustainability.

The proposal calls for 100 emergency beds and potential affordable housing for 60 more at a cost of $23 million in 2016 dollars. A host of services, including medical, dental, case management and addiction counseling would be on site as well. The facility will be built by Imagine Housing and run by Congregations for the Homeless. The plan has the shelter opening by winter of 2019.

On April 3, councilmembers were briefed on several due diligence reports that detailed project and program design, preliminary costs and funding sources, community feedback, best practices, and surrounding area impacts and preliminary mitigation options. During next Monday’s study session, the council will receive additional information about proposed shelter operations, project costs, citizen advisory committee options, other Bellevue shelter locations in comparison to the preferred Eastgate site, and related matters.

The briefing will take place during the council’s regularly scheduled study session between 6 and 8 p.m. Council direction to staff will follow public comment at the regular council meeting, beginning at 8 p.m. Additional information on addressing the council, including some basic tips, can be found on the city’s website. Residents can also share their comments by sending an email to: EastsideMensShelter@bellevuewa.gov.

Establishing a permanent Eastside shelter is a 2016-17 City Council Vision Priority. The project is proposed in partnership with King County, the coordinator of regional funds for homelessness and affordable housing; Congregations for the Homeless, the operator of the shelter and day center; and Imagine Housing, the service provider and developer of the supportive housing component.

More details about the proposed shelter and supportive housing project are available online. The council agenda is also posted on the city’s website.

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