October 21, 2020
Who owns the building?
The facility is owned by a private developer. King County signed a three-year lease earlier this year to use the facility. The facility is located at 1210 6th Ave South.
What was this facility currently used for?
The facility, previously a Tesla dealership, was stood up this spring as a preemptive quarantine, isolation, and recovery center for COVID-19 to help prevent the region’s medical centers from being overwhelmed. Thankfully, demand for the site did not come to fruition. The facility was also used during the region’s recent smoke emergency in September io give unsheltered people respite during the event.
Does this shelter take COVID-19 into account?
Yes. This shelter was built out as a medical facility under Public Health-Seattle & King County COVID-19 health and safety requirements, including individual bays for clients, temperature screening, social distancing, capacity restrictions, face coverings, and state of the art hygiene stations. The facility also has a high-quality air filtration system that meets CDC guidelines.
Does this shelter create more capacity?
The shelter will be operated by The Salvation Army and will help consolidate four of their existing shelter programs that are either over-night only and/or have been impacted by de-intensifying/rede-intensification efforts in response to COVID-19. So, while this shelter does not add overall capacity to the shelter system, it does preserve the City’s ability to activate Fisher Pavilion and City Hall shelter in the event of severe winter weather—which has been necessary the last few winters. Without the SODO shelter opening, the City’s options for emergency shelter for severe weather would be limited.
How will people be referred to this shelter?
The Salvation Army will slowly ramp up the use of the shelter in phases. People staying at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion will move in November, followed by City Hall Shelter clients. Other programs will move in after. The City will work with The Salvation Army and outreach providers to determine the referral process and how to best meet the needs of people living unsheltered in the C-ID community and SODO area.
Which shelter programs are closing/moving to this location?
Salvation Army will move existing City of Seattle funded shelter programs at City Hall and Fisher Pavilion (which was a de-intensifying site for the City Hall program), and King County funded programs at 4th and Jefferson and King County Administration Building into the new SODO shelter.
Why this location?
King County leased the former Tesla dealership in SODO as a facility for people to recover from COVID-19 in isolation. The facility was remodeled in the spring of 2020 to become a COVID-19 ready medical facility, with physical distancing design measures and air filtration systems installed. Hygiene stations were installed throughout the building as well. While designed and built out as a COVID-19 recovery facility, regional medical centers have been able to handle COVID-19 patients and the cite has not been needed to shelter COVID patients en masse.
Why not keep the other shelter spaces that are moving to this location?
The programs moving to SODO are currently at locations that are either temporary or overnight only. The temporary locations were a part of a de-intensification effort to reduce the size and capacity of some shelters to allow for social distancing. These efforts to date have prevented widespread COVID outbreaks in our shelter system, but have been temporary measures. Several of the current re-de-intensification shelters will be needed as severe weather shelters. By opening the SODO facility, more shelter beds will become 24/7–with access to supportive services, food, and hygiene access—and other facilities will now be available as emergency severe weather shelter.
Additionally, there are staffing realities with operating shelters. Opening and operating 24/7 enhanced shelter requires a significant leveling of staffing and is a better use of limited resources than operating overnight only shelters. Keeping the temporary de-intensifying programs and overnight only programs open—while operating a new 24/7 shelter—is not possible given staffing capacity.
Will this shelter serve people living unsheltered in the area?
Eventually. The shelter will slowly ramp up operations in phases and existing Salvation Army clients will move in first. The City will work with the Salvation Army and outreach providers to determine the referral process for new clients once vacancies occur. The referral process will take the needs of people living unsheltered in the C-ID community and SODO area into account.
Has there been community engagement on this project?
Yes. The City and King County met with C-ID and SODO leaders in early October to discuss the program. Staff have also met with SODO business and community leaders to discuss the shelter. The Salvation Army will also host a community engagement meeting in the coming weeks. Additionally, King County originally built this site as a COVID-19 recovery site, which was widely reported on in the community.
How many people will this building serve?
The shelter will ramp up operations starting in early November through the first quarter of 2021 and will be able accommodate 275 persons.
What is a 24/7 enhanced shelter and why is that better than night-only shelters?
24/7 shelters with supportive services like case management have been proven in helping people end their experience with homelessness more quickly. Having a safe, consistent, and supportive environment to stay throughout the day and overnight is a national best practice and has been utilized across Puget Sound as a preferred service model. The City has moved in the direction of 24/7 enhanced shelters for a number of years and the SODO shelter aligns with this model.
Will drugs and alcohol be permitted on site?
No. Individuals will be required to adhere to program rules which prohibit onsite consumption of drugs or alcohol. The space allows for 24/7 access, staff, supportive case management, COVID protocols, meals, and hygiene access.
Will there be security?
Yes. The Site will have 24/7 security and fencing.
How many staff will be on site?
Staffing for the site will be handled by the Salvation Army. They will break a 24 hour day into 3 shifts. Staffing will be made up of both shelter monitors, case managers, and supervisors. There will be at least 17 staff members assigned to the facility during the daytime shift, 19 staff during the late afternoon swing shift, and 16 staff working overnight. These staffing levels are in alignment with King County protocols for safe shelter operations and staffing ratios.
What is the County’s role in this program?
King County holds the lease for the site and will be in charge of maintaining the facility. In 2021, shelter guests from the King County-owned Administration Building and the 4th and Jefferson Building will move into the SODO buildings. Also in 2021, King County will relocate its sobering and recovery support program from its temporary location nearby at the Recovery Café into a section of the SODO site.
How can I get help?
If you are in need of shelter or services, please call 2-1-1.
What if I have more questions or concerns about this shelter?
You can reach out to the City by emailing Homelessness@seattle.gov. That account is monitored by HSD and the Department of Neighborhoods. Please feel free to invite the City and King County to attend any community events to present on this program and we’ll do our best to meet your requests.