White Center shelter: What the county’s saying, post-meeting
As noted here over the weekend, King County has posted an FAQ on their webpage about the proposed White Center shelter at the former Public Health clinic on 8th SW at SW 108th. They’ve also added their minutes of last Thursday night’s meeting – read the 9-plus pages of notes here. (Our comprehensive coverage, including video of the entire meeting, is here.)
We had asked some followup questions, and the answers largely came back as the same verbiage in the FAQ.
We asked: How soon will a date be set for the second meeting?
Reply, almost exactly the same as the “what are the next steps?” FAQ reply: “King County will work on suggestions and input given by community members including the possibility of alternate locations and/or reshaping the shelter program. Once this work has been completed, King County will discuss these options with community members.”
We asked: Will the project be put on hold in the meantime as requested, or is it going forward with permit application and whatever work is under way?
The second part was not answered (so we’ll be asking again) – the permit filing is a particularly relevant point, as, before the meeting, the county had told us that they expected to submit the filing right after the meeting. To “will the project be put on hold?” the reply was: We are taking a step back to consider the input we received from the community.
Noting that multiple attendees at Thursday’s meeting had said this had been under discussion for “a year,” without that being refuted by anyone from the county or Salvation Army, we asked if that timeline were true. The reply was almost word-for-word what’s in the FAQ as the reply to “How long has King County been planning to site a shelter in White Center?” – Executive Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a homeless state of emergency last November. Following that declaration, King County began an exploration of county buildings and properties to see if any might be feasible for use as housing or shelter. At the same time, we also looked at our data to determine geographic areas of need. Upon our initial review, the nearly vacant White Center Public Health building entered consideration. The first planning connected to the White Center site began in May with a physical assessment of the site followed by working with partners to develop the service program. Upon completion of this phase, King County sent out the public meeting notice in late August with the meeting being held on Sept. 15.
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