COVID-19 Update: Continuing to Expand Hygiene Services, Shelter and Outreach to People Experiencing Homelessness
April 15, 2020
The City of Seattle announced a number of steps today to further expand hygiene services, add new shelter spaces, and continue outreach to 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.
More 24/7 Hygiene Stations and Re-Opened Restroom Facilities
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced the deployment of six more hygiene stations. The new facilities are located at Victor Steinbrueck Park, Waterfront Park, 45th Avenue and I-5, St Vincent DePaul Food Bank, University Heights Center, and Bell Street Park. With the closures of community centers and libraries, these six facilities result in a total of 26 new portable toilets and 12 handwashing resources added in the past two weeks, addressing the urgent hygiene needs of the City’s most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City worked in partnership with REACH and Public Health – Seattle & King County to determine station placement in high-need locations where they would have the most impact. Hygiene stations will be accessible 24/7 and serviced daily, with waste removal, needle disposal, and supplemental cleaning.
In addition to the hygiene stations, Seattle Parks and Recreation has opened more than 50 facilities that were closed for annual winterization in recent weeks. Understanding the urgent need to provide increased access to hygiene services, City staff across departments have worked to account for all resources available and accessible to our residents.
Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent
While subject to change daily based on construction, maintenance, vandalism or cleaning, a comprehensive list of current resources with hours is available here.
The City is also currently working with service providers to deploy two additional hygiene stations and two hygiene trailers with showers, toilets and sinks.
Cherry Hill – Spirit Village
The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) announced the opening of Cherry Hill – Spirit Village (T.C. Spirit Village), a tiny house village in the Central District with 25 units for people currently living unsheltered. This brand new tiny house village is the eighth location of its kind. The program is sponsored and named after the Christ Spirit Church and located on the church’s property.
The Cherry Hill – Spirit Village will provide safe shelter spaces, access to hygiene services, and case management throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis for individuals experiencing homelessness. Although this project was already under development prior to the public health crisis, with the Mayor’s emergency powers, the village was established and opened months ahead of schedule to meet this need.
The City’s Navigation Team will coordinate all referrals at the village and will partner with the Chief Seattle Club and Seattle Indian Health Center to ensure that Native and First Nation clients are also served by the village. The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will operate the new village and continues to be the operator for all of the City’s tiny house villages.
In the midst of this public health crisis, assisting those who are the most vulnerable among us has been even more critical. With unemployment skyrocketing, we have worked to ensure more people aren’t falling into homelessness – it is why I moved quickly to halt all residential evictions, invest in a rent relief fund, and provide grocery vouchers. For our neighbors experiencing homelessness who are currently sheltered, we’ve prioritized standing up de-intensifying shelters with expanded services and worked with providers to ensure they have the resources they need like personal protective equipment for staff. For those living unsheltered, we’ve made investments in opening more hygiene service locations, and with today’s announcements, more people will have a bed to sleep on.
Lake Union Village was established in 2018 and is operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). Services at the village will increase to accommodate new residents referred to the village by the Navigation Team. Services include housing case management from LIHI and behavioral health support provided by LifeLong.
Since March 1, the Navigation Team has made contact with 2,768 persons, helping connect them to medical care and shelter, as needed:
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.
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