After two months of sustained outreach, assessment & planning, our partners at REACH and PDA CoLEAD have secured appropriate housing or shelter options for 30 of the 36 people who were living unsheltered at the Myers Way encampment in West Seattle near State Route 509.
This is the ninth King County site resolved thanks to the State Right of Way Safety Initiative, bringing more than 320 people inside. Statewide, the initiative has brought more than 800 people inside.
“Almost everyone who was living here has complex behavioral health needs and has endured traumatic circumstances,” said Lisa Daugaard, Co-Executive Director of PDA. “With skilled support, stable housing, and connection to health care and legal resources, we’ve found that many people can recover, stabilize and do well.”
Across all King County sites, 89% of people living unsheltered have accepted and moved into the housing and shelter offered. This includes state-supported permanent housing, non-congregate emergency housing and shelter, and permanent supportive housing.
Each step of site resolution is time-intensive, labor-intensive, and essential to success. Steps include:
- Outreach and engagement with people living unsheltered, often with daily presence by front-line outreach workers. Outreach is designed to build trust, connect people to health care and other services, meet basic needs like food and clothing, and ensure appropriate matching to housing and shelter.
- Building the “By Name List” to ensure that we understand the needs of the people living unsheltered so that we can match them with services and place them in housing and shelter as soon as it becomes available.
- Site stabilization, which includes working with the City of Seattle for trash pickup and hygiene stations, and working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on structural changes like vegetation removal and fencing. We also work with the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department and Washington State Patrol as needed to respond to public safety issues.
- Matching people with permanent housing or temporary shelter as those resources become available.
- Reclamation and restoration of the property by WSDOT.
Housing, shelter, and outreach resources are made possible because of funding requested by Governor Inslee, approved by the state legislature, and administered by the State Department of Commerce.
KCRHA and WSDOT work together to evaluate and prioritize sites based on multiple factors, including safety concerns, size and type of encampment (vehicles, structures, organization), public health concerns, care-level needs of the population, location, staff capacity, and availability of shelter and housing.
Our teams do not announce sites in progress because such announcements tend to draw more people to the site, and it’s important that outreach and assessment proceed safely and without interference.
The challenges and impacts of homelessness affect all of our communities, and it is only through partnership, collaboration and collective action like the State Right of Way Safety Initiative that we can begin to meet the need.