Rather than continuing to allow this valuable public property to remain completely vacant with no benefit to the public, I urge you to evaluate its possible use for a temporary homeless shelter.
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer has proposed a solution to the current homeless encampment set up at the King County Administration building that would take advantage of nearby open space not far from the county facility.
In a letter to Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, von Reichbauer proposed using the former site of the city’s Public Safety Building, which has been vacant for over a decade, as a temporary homeless shelter. Recent reports indicate that proposals to develop the property have stalled, so the space will continue to sit vacant.
Now known as the “Civic Square project” the property is city-owned and is located between 3rd and 4th and Cherry and James Streets.
Councilmember von Reichbauer has been listening to concerns from the public and county employees about their safety as they enter the Administration Building and the County’s Civic Campus, where the homeless encampment has been in place for several months. With the current state of emergency on homelessness declared by the Mayor and County Executive, von Reichbauer calls this proposal a proactive approach to provide a safe centrally-located facility for a vulnerable population while making sure that county employees and the public are also able to safely access county facilities.
In his letter to Harrell, von Reichbauer, who has shared the letter with the members of the Seattle City Council and King County Council, mentions looking out his office window “Onto a prime piece of real estate that remains unused. As open space is in short supply, it would provide an immediate alternative for those who are being removed from other areas.”
In the letter, von Reichbauer also spoke about the location being close to a number of services that work with the homeless community and about the security of the proposed location.
Von Reichbauer ends the letter asking that “Rather than continuing to allow this valuable public property to remain completely vacant, with no benefit to the public, I urge you to evaluate its possible use for a temporary homeless shelter.”