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First of two Seattle homeless hotel shelters opens Wednesday

Feb 23, 2021, 4:13 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2021, 10:56 am
seattle homeless hotels, drug vagrants...
(AP)
(AP)

Seattle’s Executive Hotel Pacific reopened its doors Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as part of an initiative to house a portion of the city’s homeless population in hotels.

The City of Seattle announced in late February that it would be 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 soon encompass 66 non-congregate rooms at Belltown’s Kings Inn, and 155 non-congregate rooms at the Executive Hotel Pacific. Both sites include some combination of wraparound services, case management, housing navigation services, and more.

The Kings Inn shelter — which has not yet opened — will be operated by the Chief Seattle Club, while the Executive Hotel Pacific shelter space is being managed by the Low Income Housing Institute.

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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First of two Seattle homeless hotel shelters opens Wednesday