Homelessness Response Blog, article by Julie Moore

The City of Seattle has awarded $1.3 million in funding to Compass Housing Alliance to create an enhanced 24/7 homeless shelter opening in summer 2017. The funding acknowledges Compass Housing Alliance’s proven and innovative, person-centric approach to providing shelter and support to Seattle’s homeless population. Compass Housing Alliance will combine safe shelter, complete wrap-around services and intensive case management to bring 100 new, much-needed shelter beds to King County. This model aligns directly with the City’s Pathways Home plan announced last fall.

“The City is very excited for this shelter to open,” said Catherine L. Lester, Director of the City’s Human Services Department. “This shelter is an example of our commitment to making investments that are person-centered. As we continue to implement the principles in Pathways Home, we will continue to invest in services, like this shelter model, that are meeting people where they are and providing individualized services and supports.”

The new Enhanced Shelter is a direct response to the real needs of people who need both immediate and longer-term support to successfully transition out of homelessness. It also provides space for people to bring their possessions, and to come inside with their pets or companions. These accommodations can reduce the barriers persons living outside are facing that typically prevent them from staying in shelters.

Compass Housing Alliance has partnered with Seattle First Presbyterian Church at 1013 Eighth Ave., to house and operate this new shelter initiative. Leaders of Seattle Presbyterian Church are excited to provide the space necessary for this shelter’s unique purpose.

“The 24/7 enhanced shelter model offers individuals the opportunity to stay in one place while searching for a permanent solution, rather than returning to the streets each day and hoping for a bed somewhere that night,” said Janet Pope, executive director of Compass Housing Alliance.

According to Pope, offering a safe place alongside nutritious meals, allows the time for a full assessment of each individual’s needs, to build trust and work toward addressing the barriers to stable housing.

“Compass Housing Alliance has nearly 100 years of experience serving a vulnerable population and have advocated for this system-changing, 24/7 model within the four shelters that we operate. With this enhanced shelter support, individuals can readily secure the appropriate resources to navigate the system toward a successful housing placement,” Pope explained. “The new shelter follows the successful model that Compass Housing Alliance has implemented across our other shelter and housing programs. We can have greater impact in developing a 24/7 facility of this capacity.”

“We follow a faith tradition that champions the concerns of the last and the least in society,” said Reverend Heidi Husted Armstrong, who is currently pastor of Seattle First Presbyterian Church. “We are so thankful to partner with Compass Housing Alliance and in helping people, our lives will also be changed.”

The site also will have an on-site manager to interact with the community, and address issues and the environment around the church grounds.

There will be a community meeting to discuss the shelter on May 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle’s First Presbyterian Church.

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