As summer approaches, Congregations for the Homeless plans to improve the current men’s shelter at Lincoln Center while work on a permanent shelter progresses.
At the April 8 Bellevue city council extended study session, city staff gave an update on the status of the homeless shelter services provided by Congregations for the Homeless and received direction on their next steps.
As CFH and King County plan and study the location of the permanent men’s shelter, a county-owned parcel on 13620 SE Eastgate Way, work is needed this year on improvements to the current temporary shelter at Lincoln Center. The shelter is in need of improvements to the sprinkler system, sleeping areas, and safety resources to meet city building codes. They also plan to move their offices to the second floor.
Mike Brennan, Development Services Director at the city, said the work is expected to begin on June 1 and will be complete by early fall with an estimated cost of $750,000.
Construction for these improvements is expected to take place over the summer. Because the current shelter does not have enough funding to remain open year round, it will close its doors for the summer months on April 30. However, CFH wants to find a “bridge” location to provide shelter and day services to homeless men in the city as construction is underway.
The city is working with CFH to seek out a secondary bridge location during construction, but any new facility will require some modification as well as extensive public engagement to coordinate with the community members and the city.
City Manager’s Office assistant director Nancy LaCombe said if CFH is not able to raise funding by the summer the city has the option to allow more time for funding, take on the project themselves as a public work, or allow the shelter to close as it would have normally.
In response to a question from Councilmember Janice Zhan, LaCombe said operations could begin in four to six weeks once an interim location is found. All of the community engagement and meetings with adjacent property owners would need to be conducted before any shelter use could begin.
The council was supportive of the staff recommendation to continue working directly with CFH by allowing them to proceed with finding private funding for the project, and will continue working to find a bridge shelter location.
Staff plans to return to the council in May to give another update on the private funding CFH has received for the project as well as the summer shelter location, community engagement results, and a timeline for the land use process.