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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Elliott Avenue modular pilot project opens to offer shelter beds and services to fight COVID-19

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles joined staff of Catholic Community Services in touring the new modular pilot shelter opening in May in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood to provide safe housing and 24/7 onsite services in response to COVID-19 to help people experiencing homelessness.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine invited media to join in a tour of the newly completed Elliott Avenue enhanced shelter located at 551 Elliott Avenue West in Seattle that will offer safe housing and 24/7 onsite services for about 45 people currently experiencing homelessness. King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles who represents Council District 4 joined the tour, along with staff of Catholic Community Services, the contract service provider. The location is opening to further King County’s efforts around shelter de-intensification, reducing the density of existing congregate shelters that pose a danger for COVID infection.

“The homelessness crisis is not new in King County, but the advent of the coronavirus in our communities has intensified the struggle and challenge of living without shelter,” said Executive Constantine. “The Elliott Avenue modulars will offer safe housing, access to health and behavioral health care and other onsite services that will not only help residents keep safe now, but also begin to build a pathway out of homelessness.”

The first guests at the enhanced shelter site are men currently staying at the St. Martin de Porres nightly shelter in Seattle. Most are age 55 or older and some have other existing health conditions that place them at higher risk of COVID complications should they contract the virus. Moving to this location gives them a safe place to be day and night, access to health and behavioral health care, monitoring for any symptoms of COVID-19, and showers and laundry facilities for better health and hygiene. Pets are welcome.

“The Elliott project has been years in the making, and it is very gratifying that it is ready to be put to very important and needed use. The reality is that with the coronavirus pandemic upon us, our world has changed for everyone. I commend the Executive for providing the leadership needed to make this happen,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “And I am grateful to the many partners in our community who have recognized the vast needs we are facing and that we need to protect our most vulnerable residents in order to protect all of us.”

Elliott Ave

The Elliott shelter was planned as a pilot to test the use of movable modular buildings to create housing and shelter. King County joined with Emmons Design (Stuart Emmons) and Whitley Evergreen, a modular manufacturing company based in Marysville, to design the modular project. The campus includes housing, a combination meeting and dining room, and offices for case management consultation. The site plan, developed by Third Place Design Co-operative, includes spaces to rest or move around outdoors. Originally planned for 72 people, the need for social distancing during the COVID emergency has reduced the opening size to about 45 beds. Meals, counseling sessions, and other activities will be staggered to ensure safe distancing and disease prevention.

The location in Interbay is on King County land, owned by the Department of Natural Resources and Parks Wastewater Division. The land is available for about two years, and the movable buildings make it possible to relocate the entire project to another site at a later date. This is a temporary use for the property. The long-term use has not been determined.

The project marks another strong collaboration between the King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and the Department of Executive Services Facilities Management Division (FMD). Cost to design, build and transport the project was approximately $3.1 million. Site costs totaled approximately $3.9 million. Operating costs are estimated at $2 million per year. Guests will move in later this month.   


Relevant links


Quotes

The homelessness crisis is not new in King County, but the advent of the coronavirus in our communities has intensified the struggle and challenge of living without shelter. The Elliott Avenue modulars will offer safe housing, access to health and behavioral health care and other onsite services that will not only help residents keep safe now, but also begin to build a pathway out of homelessness.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

The Elliott project has been years in the making, and it is very gratifying that it is ready to be put to very important and needed use. The reality is that with the coronavirus pandemic upon us, our world has changed for everyone. I commend the Executive for providing the leadership needed to make this happen. And I am grateful to the many partners in our community who have recognized the vast needs we are facing and that we need to protect our most vulnerable residents in order to protect all of us.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Council

For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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