The City of Seattle has announced that the permitted encampment currently in Ballard will begin to move residents to its new location at 3814 Fourth Ave. NE in the Northlake neighborhood over the first weekend in March 2018. City funded encampments play a key role in Seattle’s response to the homelessness crisis by providing safe, enhanced shelter coupled with case management and support to help people experiencing homelessness find a path to housing.
The move-in announcement follow’s Mayor Jenny Durkan’s recent pledge to increase investments in tiny home construction, sanctioned encampments, and rental support for people on the verge of homelessness. The Northlake sanctioned encampment has a one-to-two year permit and will be continue to be operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and managed by Nickelsville. The move-in announcement comes after months of community engagement, site preparation, and a temporary extension of stay of the current location in Ballard while the new site was prepared. The former Ballard site will be phased out and de-camped during the month of March, before being handed back over to Seattle City Light , which owns the property.
The Northlake property is owned by Seattle City Light, which offered the site to be used as a temporary encampment until future development begins. The Northlake site meets land use code requirements and is approximately 20 percent larger than the existing Ballard Nickelsville encampment. In total, the Northlake site will accommodate 22 tiny structures, a common kitchen area, showers and onsite case management services. The site is conveniently located near King County Metro routes and will have electricity, sewer, and water services.
The encampment will remain clean-and-sober with 24/7 restricted access. LIHI will provide case management, and will oversee subcontractor Nickelsville’s management of the day-to-day management of the site. This includes security and the organization of a resident self-governance model. Additionally, the City will work with the operator to convene a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to review camp operations, needs, and ensure operators and residents are adequately addressing concerns and complaints. The first Northlake Community Advisory Committee meeting will be scheduled during the month of April.
Volunteers from the community and LIHI already begun constructing the tiny home structures for residents over the course of February.
To get involved in supporting the village, contact Josh Castle, LIHI Advocacy and Community Engagement Director (JCastle@lihi.org).
Seattle is the first city in the country to offer public land and funding to support permitted encampments for people experiencing homelessness. All six of the City’s permitted homeless encampment programs receive City funding to provide support services, security, and operations at the camps. The current City ordinance permits these encampments to operate for one-year with an option for a second-year renewal. To date, finding suitable locations that meet land use codes and needs of residents, operators, and surrounding community has been difficult during Seattle’s real estate and population boom.
In June 2017, the City released an assessment of the first three permitted encampments that found sanctioned encampments were effective in helping people living unsheltered find safer shelter and case management-supported living situations. The report also found neighboring communities and businesses responded positively to encampments and their residents.