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Kings Inn, homeless hotel shelter
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Seattle’s two new hotel homeless shelters are now officially open

Belltown's Kings Inn. (Mayor Jenny Durkan, Twitter)

The City of Seattle announced Thursday that the second of two planned hotel homeless shelters in 2021 has now officially opened.

Researchers see ‘compelling’ results from bringing homeless into hotels

This latest shelter is being housed within Belltown’s Kings Inn. It will largely focus on the city’s unhoused American Indian and Alaskan Native population, and is being operated by the Chief Seattle Club.

That will see the Kings Inn’s fully leasing out all of its 66 rooms as temporary shelter spaces, viewed as “a short-term strategy to bring individuals inside until permanent housing options are available.” This will be in addition to 155 rooms the city is leasing out at the Executive Hotel Pacific in downtown Seattle.

The Executive Hotel Pacific’s shelter spaces are being managed by the Low Income Housing Institute, having opened to residents in late March.

Both hotels will be leased out by the city for a year, which includes “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 hotels across King County. 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

Under that plan, the county pays facility costs for hotel shelters in Seattle, while the city covers “services with proven success rates to help end homelessness like case management and behavioral and mental health assistance.”

That’s an approach that’s yielded positive results in preliminary studies done in the region.

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 of pushback, including when homeless residents of a Renton hotel were evicted following a series of complaints from neighbors.

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