Mayor Durkan pushes ‘bridge housing’ for Seattle homeless crisis

Jan 18, 2018, 5:44 AM | Updated: 5:42 pm

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is directing her first major piece of legislation at the city’s homelessness and housing crisis.

Durkan’s “Building a Bridge to Housing for All” proposal aims to make use of funds from the $11 million sale of city property at 1933 Minor Avenue. Durkan’s office states that the property is underutilized by the city. The sale is expected to be complete by next summer.

RELATED: Seattle, King County to use one table for homelessness

bridge housing

(City of Seattle)

“The number one challenge we face as a city right now is affordability, and tied to that issue is the heartbreaking crisis of people experiencing homelessness,” Durkan said Wednesday. “… We simply don’t have the capacity right now to move people off the streets out of the heartbreaking conditions they find themselves in. To make it worse, more and more people are pushed out of the city and on the verge of homelessness.”

The one-time source of money will be used to fund housing programs in 2018. The proposal puts $3.5 million toward essential city services and uses $10.7 million from the sale for affordable housing and what the mayor’s office calls “bridge housing” — shelter to bridge people between living on the street to living in permanent housing. This could be a range of options from tents to tiny homes and other shelters.

The bridge housing proposal is backed by four city council members, including Bruce Harrell, Rob Johnson, Debora Juarez, and Sally Bagshaw.

Seattle bridge housing

The mayor’s office notes that Seattle’s “sanctioned encampments are currently near full capacity serving 300 people including 149 tiny wooden structures, often called tiny houses. In 2018, the city will fund 1,464 shelter beds, 85 percent that are 24/7 or enhanced shelter beds with services, which are also almost at capacity.”

The program will, therefore, create new shelter opportunities to serve as “bridge shelters” between homelessness and housing. A plan for these solutions is slated for completion by next summer and will include: mass shelter tents; hard-sided tents; wood-frame sheds; portable modular bunkhouses or cabins; backyard cottages; and master leasing of existing apartments.

“First we have to understand that this is just a bridge,” Durkan said Wednesday. “We know that tiny houses are not a solution for long-term and supportive housing that many people living on the street need. But we have to have more capacity, more humane places than the streets, vehicles, tents and unsheltered situation that people find themselves.”

Funding includes:

  • $5.5 million Bridge Housing Investment Strategy: To increase capacity and quickly move people into housing. It will start with chronically homeless women.
  • $2 million for Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Pilot Program: This will be targeted at to residents on “the verge of homelessness.”
  • $2.5 million reinvestment in city communications: This will include the relocation of the city’s IT communication shop that is currently located on the property being sold.
  • $1 million for design and planning of a new Seattle Fire Department building.
  • $2 million for Mandatory Housing Affordability: For affordable housing.

Durkan’s Housing Strategies subcabinet will look into options for rapid deployment, cost effectiveness and increasing housing and shelter capacity. They are charged with developing a plan for the program by the summer.

Local News

FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
7 hours ago
Kathryn Stone

Oregon kidnapping suspect dead after being taken into custody

Law enforcement officials were able to determine that Foster had been accessing dating applications on his phone.
7 hours ago
Seattle likes Taylor Swift songs...
Theresa Robinson, KIRO 7 News

State lawmakers considering ‘TSWIFT Consumer Protection Act’ concerning ticket sales

Following the Ticketmaster meltdown during the presale for Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour late last year, Washington state lawmakers are considering a new bill
7 hours ago
Friends kitchen...
Micki Gamez

The Friends Experience pop-up opens in Seattle on Feb. 1

The FRIENDS Experience invites fans to step inside the world of the iconic series, relive their favorite moments, and celebrate the show.
1 day ago
dead road rage...
L.B. Gilbert

Greenwood road rage fight involved knife, baseball bat

Police are investigating a road rage incident involving a bat and a knife in a QFC parking lot in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
1 day ago
The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Mayor Durkan pushes ‘bridge housing’ for Seattle homeless crisis