MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Public Safety Council announces vital homeless center in Chinatown closing its doors

Mar 7, 2024, 4:54 AM

Photo: The Navigation Center at 12th Avenue South and Weller Street is permanently closing its door...

The Navigation Center at 12th Avenue South and Weller Street is permanently closing its doors. (Photo courtesy of James Lynch)

(Photo courtesy of James Lynch)

The Navigation Center at 12th Avenue South and Weller Street is permanently closing its doors. The decision was announced at a Chinatown-International District (CID) Public Safety Council meeting on Tuesday.

According to Northwest Asian Weekly, the center will close before its lease ends in January 2025.

Why the Navigation Center opened in Chinatown

Photo: According to Northwest Asian Weekly, the center will close before its lease ends in January 2025.

According to Northwest Asian Weekly, the Navigation Center will close before its lease ends in January 2025. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

The Navigation Center opened in 2017 as a way to prevent homeless individuals struggling with behavioral and/or substance issues from entering into a more traditional shelter. But people who live and own businesses in the area said the center has been nothing but trouble.

“When Navigation Center came in all the drug activity came,” a business owner who chose to remain anonymous said. “When the Navigation Center came with drugs, all the rest of the crimes come with it, gun violence, crime, and vandalism.”

More on the CID: Seattle city council member blasts colleague over crime in Chinatown

Tents and trash can now be found on just about every side of the center, along with drug paraphernalia, urine, and human feces.

Photo: Tents and trash can now be found on just about every side of the center, along with drug paraphernalia, urine, and human feces.

Tents and trash can now be found on just about every side of the center, along with drug paraphernalia and human body fluids. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

For some, there is nowhere else to go

Still, for some in the homeless community, there is nowhere else to go.

“It’s going to displace a lot of people and it’s going to make it harder for anyone to have anywhere warm to stay or anywhere to go for safety or anything,” Melissa Eager, who is homeless, said. “It’s going to put a lot more people on the streets and probably upset the community because we’re going to have people putting up tents everywhere.”

The business owner said he is sympathetic, but the center and everything that comes along with it has hurt his business.

“Negative. Everything negative. It used to feel like a safe neighborhood, especially on this block,” he said. “I had no doubts of coming here at night. Now, I will not come here at night anymore.”

More on homelessness in Washington: Homeless camping restrictions increase in Burien with new ordinance

The city plans to assist the residents with finding a place to go, but some in the homeless community fear the new location will be inaccessible to the homeless in the CID.

“If it goes away, it’s going to really hurt a lot of the community, because whether they like it or not, the homeless community is a huge part of the Seattle community,” Eager said.

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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Public Safety Council announces vital homeless center in Chinatown closing its doors