City of Seattle Opening Two Temporary Hotel Shelters

More than 200 units to support individuals experiencing homelessness will come online over the next week

Seattle (March 24, 2021) – The City of Seattle announced the opening of a temporary hotel shelter as part of the surge of investments first announced by Mayor Jenny A. Durkan on October 1, 2020 and passed by City Council on November 23, 2020. A second hotel, with a focus on serving unhoused American Indian and Alaskan Native people, will open next week. The City is using one-time federal funding to launch this program with a goal of moving hundreds of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness into shelter and on to permanent housing.  

“Throughout the pandemic, we have invested an unprecedented amount of resources in creating a safer 24/7 enhanced shelter system, providing food access, hygiene resources, and all levels of support for our homeless neighbors,” said Mayor Durkan. “Homelessness requires a range of strategies that meet individuals wherever they intersect with housing insecurity, and temporary shelter coupled with rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing will help individuals successfully navigate through our system. With today’s opening, we will bring more people inside and help them on the path towards stable housing.” 

The City has leased the Executive Hotel Pacific, using all 155 rooms, to support people experiencing homelessness on their path to housing. The temporary hotel shelter is operated by the Low Income Housing Institute with case management and housing navigation services designed to meet the needs of people facing barriers to housing. Shelter is ultimately a short-term strategy bringing individuals off the streets until permanent housing options are available. Mayor Durkan’s plan provides an exit to permanent housing for hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness using proven strategies like rapid rehousing (RRH) and permanent supportive housing (PSH). 

Next week, the Kings Inn will open as a 24/7 enhanced hotel shelter, with 66  rooms and wraparound services on site. The Chief Seattle Club (CSC) will operate the shelter and provide case management and housing navigation services to help American Indian/Alaska Natives facing high barriers find housing. CSC is expected to begin accepting clients on March 29, 2021 

The HOPE Team will match individuals to services and/or shelter that accommodate an individual’s particular needs, in collaboration with the City’s contracted outreach providers.  

The hotels are leased for 12 months, including one month for ramp-up and one month for ramp-down. The City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) oversaw the procurement and contracting process, working with the Human Services Department (HSD) to identify key program needs. This includes hotel size and location; floor plans for rooms and common areas; cost; COVID-19 safety; speed of program activation; and facility maintenance.   

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City has partnered with King County on non-congregate shelter, funding temporary hotel shelter for 380 clients in the County’s hotel shelter program. While the County pays facility costs, the City of Seattle pays for services with proven success rates to help end homelessness like case management and behavioral and mental health assistance. The City will add more than 200 units to increase city-funded, non-congregate, hotel-based shelter units over the coming days.   

Permanent Housing Solutions 

City of Seattle investments in rapid rehousing, a nationally proven model for ending homelessness, continue to yield successful outcomes, with 81% of RRH participants exiting the program to permanent housing in 2020. This investment will support more than 230 households to secure permanent housing. In addition, the City will bring on new permanent supportive housing units in 2021. The City’s surge funding will support transitioning individuals to this housing option through case management and housing navigation services. PSH, another nationally recognized strategy, has a 96% success rate of ending long-term, chronic homelessness. 

Tiny House Villages 

Three new tiny home villages were approved as part of the 2021 budget and are being procured through a process that will allow reimbursement for eligible expenses.    

A new tiny house village in the University District will be operated by LIHI and is expected to provide up to 40 tiny houses. The village will be located on Sound Transit property that the agency will later develop into transit-oriented development. The village is slated to open in late April or early May, pending finalizing lease and service agreements. The second village, also anticipated to hold up to 40 units, will be located in North Seattle and is on a similar schedule for opening in Spring.   

The City is actively reviewing additional locations for its third tiny home village that is fully funded in 2021.    

While open to any individual experiencing homelessness, the City will seek reimbursement on any FEMA-eligible expenses. The City has been seeking FEMA reimbursement on tiny home villages opened last year during the pandemic.   

Additional Temporary Hotel Shelter 

On Monday, City Council passed legislation that will allow the City to quickly finance the costs of leasing an additional hotel depending on the size of the hotel, services offered, and individuals served. The City would continue to seek FEMA reimbursement for eligible expenses and use additional federal funding.   

The City has already identified a third potential hotel through a competitive procurement process and will begin contracting negotiations. The City will continue moving forward with identifying a service provider to operate the facility. Mayor Durkan is committed to working with Council, regional and state partners to provide resources ensuring a permanent housing solution for these clients.  

New 24/7 Enhanced Shelter Open   

On February 12, 2021, a new shelter for women opened at the First Presbyterian Church, adding 60 new shelter beds. The City funds this shelter through Catholic Community Services, which sub-contracts operations to Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL). The shelter began as an overnight shelter during February’s snowstorms and is converting to 24/7 enhanced shelter for women experiencing homelessness. Case management and housing navigation services will be provided.