The Navigation Team continues to do critical outreach in the field to people living unsheltered during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to connecting individuals to essential services and making referrals to shelter, the Team has stepped up its public health efforts in response to the pandemic. Through April 26, the Navigation Team has distributed 2,171 hygiene kits, 1,777 Public Health—Seattle & King County (Public Health) COVID-19 and hepatitis A flyers, and hygiene services maps.
This is especially true for the Ballard Commons area where the Navigation Team has been conducting outreach at the location multiple times a week. Since March 1, the Navigation Team has made 29 site visits to this area. This outreach, in addition to trash and debris mitigation, has resulted in 19 referrals to shelter from the Ballard Commons area in the past week alone. The City recently opened 95 new shelter beds that are exclusively available to the Navigation Team at tiny house villages and enhanced shelter and individuals from the Ballard Commons have been referred to these new shelter resources.
Navigation Team engagement in the area is ongoing and includes coordination with Public Health to address the recent increase in hepatitis A cases through the distribution of public health flyers, handing out of hygiene kits, and coordination of hepatitis A vaccines. The Navigation Team has also worked with Seattle Parks and Public Utilities to provide hygiene resources in the area.
Just last week, the City of Seattle and The Seattle Public Library announced the re-opening of restrooms at five library locations including the Ballard Branch (5614 22nd Ave. N.W.). This reopening, done in coordination and under the guidance of Public Health, is providing additional vital hygiene resources to people living unsheltered in Ballard Commons.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and based on public health recommendations, City encampment removal operations have been suspended except for extreme circumstances. The Navigation Team is aware of the increases of unmanaged encampments and will continue to do critical outreach in the field to people living unsheltered during the COVID-19 outbreak.