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City of Seattle

September 22, 5:11 PM click here to comment > 9

Keeping our commitment to shelters and services

There has been a great deal of discussion about converting the former Fire Station 39 for use as a homeless shelter for a limited period of time. We want to acknowledge the community’s leadership in bringing this idea forward, and to affirm our commitment to help you find a way to address the ongoing needs of people in your community who lack shelter and access to needed services.

We have made great strides in the development of housing for formerly homeless people, but many of our community members lack food, shelter, and community on a nightly basis. We must continue to work to meet their immediate needs. The Human Services Department is nearing the conclusion of an in-depth, community-driven process to revamp our shelter contracts. That will help us to deliver services more efficiently and effectively, even in the face of wavering federal support.

I took a long look at what it would take to retrofit the fire station to accommodate this new potential use. The necessary renovations were estimated to cost up to $950,000. I have heard concerns about investing significant public resources, which are severely constrained right now, on what has been planned as just a three year pilot project. This is a legitimate concern.

What I am proposing instead is that my staff work with community stakeholders, the council and other interested parties to identify a long term solution on this site that will meet the same objectives – providing shelter and services – over many years. That is why I have set aside $950,000 in the 2013 General Fund Financial Plan to make sure the funds are available to implement this longer term solution. I am willing to work with Council to identify funding prior to 2013 if needed to move this project forward.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn


Comment from Sam
Time September 23, 2011 at 5:35 am

Even thought resources are constrained it is great that we can still do this.

Comment from Jean
Time September 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm

The fact that 100 people could be successfully sheltered at the fire station for 6 months clearly demonstrates that the shelter can still be used even without the retrofit.

I would like to see the shelter open again before winter sets in.

Comment from suzy
Time September 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

The issue isn’t housing the folks at night. The issue for the community is what do we do with the people in the morning when they are turned out into the neighborhood and have no job and no home and no place to go? Turning out dozens or potentially hundreds of homeless people into the small community of Lake City every day is going to have a devastating impact on the neighborhood and the merchants. Merchants I have spoken to recently bemoan the fact that the homeless folks are turned out in the morning with no place to go so they are opting to hide in bathrooms at local places of business such as Jiffy Lube, Bartell’s, and the like. That very negatively impacts these hard-working merchants and is a huge disincentive to shop locally. Let’s put the money into turning these folks into productive members of society, or at least into programs they can attend during the day, rather than just giving dozens of homeless people a bed in a quiet neighborhood filled with kids and local merchants.

Comment from cathy
Time September 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I think we need to help our homeless people with social workers, doctors, mental health,professionals, and low income housing. Any one of us living pay check to pay check could end up right where they are now. Let’s treat them with dignity and respect.

Comment from Jonathan H. Tepper
Time September 29, 2011 at 7:09 am

As long as Share/Wheel is not permitted to operate it.

Comment from Kathy A Corey
Time September 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

These people that need services should be required to complete the immediate services the local community requires: Cleaning the transit shelters in the surrounding area, Checking and updating the schedules posted @ the transit stops, taking a shift at a community daycare co-op, REMOVING graffiti & covering the remaining scar, cleaning

Comment from Rick
Time September 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm

From the last community meeting it was still UNCLEAR if this shelter will help the current Lake City homeless population. Last year when Nickelsville was in place none of the “resident” Lake City homeless folks could abide by the rules and were excluded from the shelter.

I am in support of a shelter if is serves the current population in Lake City. Spending almost a $ Million dollars and not serving the current needs of the community is misguided.

Comment from Chad Lupkes
Time September 30, 2011 at 7:00 am

Dear Mayor McGinn, Deputy Mayor Smith and members of the Seattle City Council,

On September 15th, the 46th District passed a resolution recognizing the desperate community need for a new homeless shelter in Northeast Seattle. The main statement agreed to was as follows:

Therefore, Be It Resolved that the 46th District Democrats call for the prompt conversion of the former Lake City Fire Station for use as a day and night shelter as long as the need continues, and urge the City of Seattle to work expeditiously with the Lake City community, including those who are homeless, to determine the best use of that building to reduce problems caused by lack of shelter and hygiene facilities; …

You can read the entire resolution via this link:

I understand from reading the news that the 2012 Budget Proposal has this pushed sometime into the future due to the projected $950,000 cost. I hope that the community stakeholders can come to an agreement soon so we can tackle the needs in our community. The best thing that could happen to the North Seattle area would be the jobs created by just such a remodeling project as would be required for the Firehouse. I think over the medium to long term that might be one of the best solutions.

I look forward to reading more about how we are solving the issues of lack of employment and deficit of permanent housing for our fellow citizens. We’re all in this together.

Yours Sincerely,

Chad Lupkes
Chair, 46th District Democrats

Comment from Robert Salko
Time September 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm

This is more about people and whats right then money. Good luck and God bless your project.