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Seattle to set up homeless shelters in downtown, Belltown hotels

(AP)

The City of Seattle announced Tuesday that it will begin using a pair of hotels as 24/7 enhanced shelter spaces for homeless individuals.

King County works to prevent spread of COVID among homeless

That will encompass 66 non-congregate rooms at Belltown’s Kings Inn, and 155 non-congregate rooms at the Executive Hotel Pacific in downtown Seattle. Both sites will include some combination of wraparound services, case management, housing navigation services, and more.

The Kings Inn shelter will be operated by the Chief Seattle Club, while the Executive Hotel Pacific shelter space will be managed by the Low Income Housing Institute pending the finalization of a contract between LIHI and the city.

Both hotels will be leased out by the city for a year, which will include “a one-month set-up and ramp-down process.”

This comes during a larger effort to focus on providing stable shelter spaces in unoccupied rooms of King County hotels. In 2021, the county plans to buy a series of hotels to permanently house up to 45% of its homeless population.

King County reducing shelter concentrations, moving people to hotels

That’s also an approach that’s yielded positive results in preliminary studies.

According to one study from the University of Washington, homeless individuals living in King County hotels over the last year saw across-the-board improvements to their lives. Participants were shaving and showering regularly, getting three meals a day, and were more frequently attending medical appointments. The downstream effect is that without having to worry about day-to-day survival, their attention could instead turn toward improving their respective situations long-term.

The strategy has also faced its fair share pushback, though, including when homeless residents of a Renton hotel were evicted following a series of complaints from neighbors.

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