The Eastside Human Services Forum, Eastside Homelessness Advisory Committee and the City of Bellevue have secured a site for the temporary Eastside Winter Shelter for homeless men. The groups worked together with several partners to identify and lease a portion of a Sound Transit-owned site at 1899 120th Ave. N.E. in Bellevue.
Formerly owned by International Paper, the now vacant building is located in a light industrial, non-residential area and will provide winter shelter starting tonight through March. The shelter will be open from 8:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily. The 4,000-square-foot space will be operated by Congregations for the Homeless, a non-profit organization working to end homelessness in King County.
Bellevue began operating a severe weather shelter after a homeless man died from exposure on Christmas night 2007 and Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo urged the city to act.
The Eastside Human Services Forum and the Eastside Homelessness Advisory Committee later helped expand the extreme weather shelter to an all-winter shelter model to better serve Eastside residents.
Since the shelter first opened, the two agencies have worked with the cities of Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah and Kirkland to find viable sites. In addition to briefly relocating to the OldSchoolhouseCommunity Center in Redmond, the winter shelter has been hosted primarily by area churches.
The various parties have also worked to secure shelter sites for women and children. In 2013, this shelter opened on Nov. 1 and is operated by Sophia Way at the UnitedMethodistChurch in Redmond.
Nearly 1,000 men, women, youth and children with a prior Eastside address were served in local shelters or transitional housing programs last year, and the most recent data shows the numbers are growing. The 2013 One Night Count of unsheltered people sleeping outside on the Eastside was 197 – a nearly 30 percent increase in the number counted in 2012.
The partners are committed to finding permanent solutions, and A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) is working with all the partners to secure permanent shelter sites within the next five years.
The mission of the Eastside Human Services Forum is to foster strong public and private partnerships to assure a stable network of health and human services for the benefit of all EastKingCounty residents.
For more information, visit the Eastside Human Services Forum website at www.eastsideforum.org. For more information about the Eastside Winter Shelters, contact Congregations for the Homeless at 425-922-9387 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Sophia Way at 425-463-6285, x106 or wintershelter@SophiaWay.org