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Mayor wants to open City Hall to shelter homeless

(AP file photo)

Mayor Jenny Durkan aims to expand Seattle shelter services by 25 percent, which will include inviting 120 more homeless people to the shelter at city hall.

RELATED: Seattle considers South Lake Union for next tiny home village

Durkan’s plan to expand shelter units passed out of the council’s Finance and Neighborhoods Committee Wednesday afternoon. The council was briefed that part of the plan is to shelter more people in the 5th Avenue entrance to city hall.

Overall, the plan proposes to serve an additional 525 people each night. The legislation will move to the full council for consideration next week. The mayor’s office expects it to be approved.

“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,” Mayor Durkan said. “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 shelter increase

Seattle’s shelters are already at or near capacity every night. Durkan’s latest plan will add to the number of bridge housing and shelter units within 90 days.

City Hall could open as a shelter as soon as late June, according to a presentation on the proposal.

Enhanced shelters will serve 205 more people under the proposal. Bridge housing will be opened at Haddon Hall, a homeless apartment complex on Third Avenue in downtown; it will serve 75 people and could open in August.

Durkan’s proposal also makes official the city’s plans for 54 tiny homes in South Lake Union and 30 tiny homes at 18th and Yesler (after the city completes community outreach). The city expects the two tiny home villages to serve 103 people at a time.

The plan is part of Durkan’s Bridge to Housing and Shelter Strategy, which uses the funds from a one-time sale of city property to pay for increased homeless services, while resources last.

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