Congregations for the Homeless has announced the final location of its permanent, year-round homeless shelter.
At a press conference held at The Eastside Men’s Shelter at Lincoln Center in Bellevue, Congregations for the Homeless (CFH) executive director David Bowling announced that after a robust site assessment process they have chosen a location. The proposed location is a piece of surplus King County property located at 13620 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue.
The goal is to have the facility up and running by 2022.
Bowling said CFH reviewed more than a dozen sites to ensure the shelter works not just for CFH and the population they serve, but for the neighboring communities as well.
Distance to homes and schools, proximity to transit, social services, costs, time to bring the facility online and the needs of the clients were all important factors examined in the decision on the property.
Bowling said the selected property meets the city’s zoning requirements and the community and clients’ safety and service needs in addition to having a cooperative seller.
A permanent shelter has been a longtime goal of CFH, as the group has had to close its Men’s shelter in May every year due to funding. Having a year-round operation will allow it to serve the homeless population and help work toward additional stable housing solutions.
King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci spoke to the need for services and resources to become more accessible at all times. In 2015 and 2016, she said more than 1,200 men, women and children received temporary shelter in East King County. This year the number of people living unsheltered on the Eastside rose by 23 percent.
During a board meeting for A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH), goals were set to address homelessness throughout the area with a young adult shelter in Redmond, a women’s shelter in Kirkland, and a men’s shelter in Bellevue. The Redmond shelter is currently open, but Bellevue’s shelter has struggled to become a reality.
Balducci also discussed the benefits of the location to the men that will be served by the new facility, highlighting access to services that will make the road to more stable housing much easier.
“We provide transit and we provide public health,” Balducci said. “Access to transportation and health services are two very important things for the population of people we are helping here, and this is close to both of those. That’s another reason why this site makes a lot of sense.”
Balducci thanked the Bellevue City Council and staff for the work they put into creating and approving a land use code amendment that addresses the needs of the community in siting a permanent homeless shelter in the city.
“We are going to open the shelter doors in 2022, and that is my own personal commitment to all of you,” she said. “I will do everything I can to help build a permanent shelter.”
The King County Council also has approved $2 million for the shelter in the 2019 budget to help fund the effort to open by 2022.
Until then, CFH currently is working with the city to get a permit to have the current winter men’s shelter open year-round until the new facility can be finished. Without a year-round permit, the shelter will have to close its doors on May 1, 2019, until the next winter season.
An emergency permit would last three years, so the focus would be to get the new facility operational as soon as possible.
Bowling is hopeful that CFH will be able to continue serving the homeless population in Bellevue and said he is excited to get to work on crafting a new facility to keep that work going strong into the future.