Mayor Ed Murray welcomed community members to Compass at First Presbyterian, Seattle’s second 24-hour, enhanced shelter that opened today on First Hill.
The shelter has the capacity to serve 100 people, offering them a safe place to stay, meals, access to laundry and shower facilities and intensive case management. Many people living unsheltered are not willing to let go of their possessions, pets and partners to come inside for shelter. These “barriers” prevent them from coming inside. Compass at First Presbyterian provides space for guests’ belongings, and can accommodate pets and companions. In addition to providing services and staff for guests, Compass Housing Alliance has hired an on-site manager to work with community members in First Hill and ensure that the church grounds are well-maintained.
Compass Housing Alliance was awarded a $1.3 million grant through a competitive process from the City of Seattle to expand access to 24-hour shelters in Seattle. Compass, with over 100 years of experience serving vulnerable populations, found an eager partner in the Seattle First Presbyterian Church which is providing the space for this innovative shelter at 1013 8th Ave. in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.
Compass at First Presbyterian is an “enhanced” shelter designed to provide not only basic necessities, but also the time and resources needed for a full assessment of each individual’s needs and to create a plan to find each person a permanent home. Compass will have on-site “navigators” to help connect people to housing. Shelters that only provide beds overnight may require people to return to the street each day and spend time looking for another bed the following night. The 24-hour model removes this uncertainty and allows guests to create stability while looking for housing. The model aligns with the City of Seattle’s Pathways Home Initiative to address the crisis of homelessness.
Compass at First Presbyterian will welcome 10 guests per day beginning on September 1. Starting small allows staff members and guests time to acclimate to the new community and time to learn about one another and build supportive relationships. The first 50 guests will be former residents from Operation Nightwatch, an overnight men’s shelter, and after that, guests will be welcomed by referral only from Seattle’s Navigation Team, comprised of specially trained Seattle Police officers, outreach workers through REACH at Evergreen Treatment Services and field coordinators who engage with people living unsheltered in Seattle.