Seattle (June 13) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s legislation to increase the number of bridge housing and shelter units in 90 days by 25% to serve nearly 525 additional people every night passed unanimously out of the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. The legislation will help people experiencing homelessness move inside and get into safer places where they are more likely to access services.
“We have too many people living in unimaginable conditions in our city. We must act to move people off the streets and into safer, more stable places, and I’m grateful City Council is urgently moving forward with this legislation. Once we give people shelter, they’re more likely to access services such as mental health care, hygiene services, and employment support, and then move to permanent housing,” said Mayor Durkan. “We all will have to work together to create more spaces for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, which is why we’re opening City Hall to 120 more people each night to help address this crisis.”
Seattle’s shelters are at or near capacity; they are 93% full each night. This legislation will increase the number of bridge housing and shelter units in the next 90 days by 25%. Through Mayor Durkan’s bill, the City would serve nearly 525 more people every night through a series of options being explored including:
- Expanding enhanced shelter capacity to serve an additional 205 people;
- Creating bridge housing at Haddon Hall to serve 75 people through a master lease;
- Expanding City Hall’s basic shelter serving 120 people each night;
- Supporting of Whittier Heights Women’s Village, a tiny home village serving 19 chronically homeless women; and
- Opening 54 tiny homes in South Lake Union and 30 new tiny homes at 18th and Yesler following community engagement and site approval. These tiny homes would serve approximately 103 people.
The legislation would also allow the City to help maintain 163 shelter beds that would otherwise go offline.
Mayor Durkan’s approach includes a variety of strategies to create new resources to bring people off the streets and into safer places. Because enhanced shelters are more successful at exiting more people to permanent housing, Mayor Durkan’s legislation is focused on building more capacity at enhanced shelters. The legislation also provides dedicated beds to serve individuals living unsheltered referred by the City’s Navigation team. Providing more capacity for people living unsheltered to move into safer places like enhanced shelters and tiny home villages makes it easier for them to access services including substance use treatment, mental health care, food, employment support, and case management professionals.
Under Mayor Durkan, the City of Seattle is continuing its investments in homelessness prevention. Mayor Durkan has launched the Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Pilot Program, which will serve approximately 1,000 low-income households to provide a range of critical resources, including rental assistance and utility discounts as applicable.
Mayor Durkan is also continuing her commitment to more permanent affordable housing: From 2018 to 2021, approximately 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental housing units and over 1,900 new MFTE affordable units will come online. The City currently finances 4,450 units of affordable housing for people exiting homelessness.
The legislation is expected to pass full Council next week.