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Additional winter shelter beds opening in King County
As temperatures begin to dip, 135 new emergency winter shelter beds are opening for homeless men and women in King County to offer a nightly respite from the cold and wet weather. King County, United Way of King County and several King County cities have joined together to devote additional resources to create safe shelter options for homeless people around the region.
“Even as we work to create permanent housing, we are working to increase the emergency shelter options to help people in our community who have no place now to sleep,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, co-chair of the Governing Board of the Committee to End Homelessness (CEH).
In collaboration with the Salvation Army, King County has doubled the number of beds available for homeless men at the King County Administration Building. The shelter at 500 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle now offers 100 indoor shelter beds nightly.
The cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish joined together to increase funding for winter shelter for 2012-2013. Additional funding from United Way of King County allows a further expansion of emergency shelter beds for East King County. Congregations for the Homeless added15 additional beds each night for homeless men. Sophia Way, serving homeless women and children, will add 10 additional beds and stay open one month longer than originally planned.
“United Way of King County believes that everyone should have a safe place to call home and we invest in long term solutions like supportive housing to help end homelessness,” said Jon Fine, President and CEO of United Way of King County. “We are making progress, but we also understand the importance of meeting immediate needs. We are pleased that the additional funding by United Way and our partners will help to meet these needs by providing additional emergency shelter during the coming winter months.“
United Way funding will also support the creation of a new winter shelter for up to 40 men, women and children in North Bend and the establishment of a winter shelter for up to 20 women in Kent. Both new projects will be coordinated by members of the faith community – the Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter Advisory Council in North Bend and Catholic Community Services in Kent.
“I am pleased with United Way and King County’s announcement that funding will be available to Catholic Community Services to provide nightly winter shelter to women in the City of Kent,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. “I have been concerned about the lack of shelter services for women in our community for some time and I am pleased that our city can not only host this activity, but will participate as a funding partner.”
Across the region there are approximately 1,700 shelter beds available each night for single adults. Shelter bed capacity increases for six months of the year during the coldest months of the year from October through March, when more than 500 beds are added to increase winter response shelter availability. Information on winter shelter beds is available on the CEH website at www.cehkc.org/
For more information about King County’s cold-weather shelter operations, contact Janice Hougen, homeless housing planner in the King County Department of Community and Human Services at 206-263-9089.