Update on City Efforts to Support Homeless Community

Here’s the latest on the use of the old Fire Station 39. The news release just came from the city this morning:

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and City Councilmembers Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien today announced two new steps in the City’s efforts to better support those living without permanent shelter in Seattle:

  • Future use of the old Fire Station 39 structure as a shelter;
  • New ordinance to supersede Seattle’s Consent Decree, facilitating faith-based communities’ efforts to host encampments while providing standards and guidelines for hosts and peace of mind for neighbors.

“The need for shelter and other services has increased during the current recession,” said McGinn. “Today’s announcement is a step toward better supporting those in need. I thank Councilmembers Licata and O’Brien for making these efforts a priority.”

Two proposals have been received to operate Fire Station 39 as a shelter. For nearly six months, the old Fire Station 39 in Lake City has served as an example of how to use existing resources to expand the City’s ability to serve people in need. Neighboring businesses, residents and faith communities have played an active role in Lake City, generating neighborhood support for this new effort. The mayor and Council will work with City departments and the community to develop an approach for both the short and long-term future of the site.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to agree upon some immediate actions in our work program so we can respond to the community’s plea for us to move forward sooner rather than later,” said Councilmember Licata.

We recognize that even with moving forward on Station 39 as a shelter and addressing the consent decree, there will still be a great need for housing in the community. I will work with my colleagues to look for solutions as we continue the process outlined in Resolution 31292,” said Councilmember O’Brien.

The mayor will transmit legislation to Council that will supersede Seattle’s Consent Decree concerning encampments in the city of Seattle. The Consent Decree is now inconsistent with state law after a ruling from the Supreme Court of the State of Washington last year stating that it is unconstitutional for a municipality to interfere with a religious institution’s protected mission, including providing shelter for people in need of housing. This new ordinance will empower faith communities to do even more to help those without permanent shelter.

McGinn, Licata and O’Brien concluded their announcement today by reaffirming the need for the Council to consider the recommendations of the Citizen’s Expert Review Panel for a city-sanctioned encampment. Today’s actions do not address that recommendation. The Council will take that up through the process outlined in the Council’s Resolution 31292. A proposal from the mayor based on the Panel’s recommendations was submitted to Council earlier this year.

1 comment to Update on City Efforts to Support Homeless Community

  • poornomore

    Why buy the cow when the milk is free? I understand there are legitimate homeless people. I also know there are vagrants who are just plain lazy. Heck, they can make more money begging on a street corner than working at a minimum wage job AND pay NO taxes! When is Seattle going to learn that if you give ANYTHING away people will take it, regardless of severity of need?

    I am all for this on one condition, EVERYONE who stays at the shelter MUST BE DRUG TESTED and only the sober ones can stay. Get with it Seattle!

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