Contact New Mayor & City Council!
to stop budget cuts in funding to
Urban Rest Stops, Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing
We urgently need you to contact Mayor Jenny Durkan and members of the City Council. Mayor Durkan takes office today. Tell the new mayor and City Council to stop the cuts to the Urban Rest Stops, emergency shelters and transitional housing.
Yesterday, Mayor Tim Burgess dealt a devastating blow to homeless people by severely cutting hygiene services, emergency shelters and transitional housing in 2018. Burgess along with Catherine Lester, Human Services Department Director, cut or zeroed out critical programs including the following:
Funding was totally eliminated for the U-District Urban Rest Stop! City Council added funding in 2016-17 of $159,000 per year. The Rest Stop serves 1,700 unique individuals each year with showers, restrooms and laundry. One has to look clean and presentable to look for work, keep a job, attend school or apply for housing. We don’t just serve young adults, but also seniors, veterans, families, and homeless people who are employed. We help businesses in the U-District because they can send homeless people and non-customers in need of restrooms over to us.
Funding was cut 38% from the Downtown Urban Rest Stop. $245,000 is the proposed cut. This would eliminate the Rest Stop being opened on weekends and evenings. We are the only stand alone hygiene facility open on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays we stay open until 9:30pm so that homeless people who work can shower and do their laundry. Come visit and see that the Rest Stop is already jammed packed as people wait for showers, washers and dryers to get freed up. We need more, not fewer, hours to be open.
Only partial funding was added to our request for the Ballard Urban Rest Stop. We requested $281,000 and received $143,000. The Ballard Rest Stop must be adequately staffed to ensure a safe place for patrons and to offer housing referral services. We also support residents living at the new Interbay Tiny House Village.
More homeless people will be on the streets! SHARE and WHEEL’s Shelter Program in partnership with 12 area churches will be eliminated. The churches shelter over 220 men and women each night. In 2018, HSD will fund only 1,464 shelter beds, a reduction of 249 beds from this year (1,713 shelter beds). With close to 4,000 unsheltered homeless people sleeping out each night, more people will be at risk of exposure, death and violence.
LIHI’s Columbia Court, 13 apartments for homeless families, and Martin Court, 43 apartments for homeless families and singles were also not funded.Both provide transitional housing for up to two years with on-site supportive services for immigrant refugees, families with children, people with mental illness and victims of domestic violence. Even though these are high performing programs, HSD has prioritized funding instead to private for-profit landlords under Rapid Rehousing. Our per unit cost to the city is $3,226 annually compared with the much higher cost for Rapid Rehousing.
Catherine Lester released the HSD funding cuts after the City Council had adopted the 2018 budget. HSD could have provided this information earlier in a timely way. Therefore we are requesting that Mayor Durkan and City Council amend the 2018 budget to add and restore funding.