The effort to establish a year-round shelter in Bellevue reached a significant milestone this week. The City of Bellevue, following the City Council's unanimous action on a resolution, announced it will begin providing year-round emergency shelter for men starting in September. The services will continue to be provided by Congregations for the Homeless (CFH).
The start date is made possible by an agreement with Cloudvue to allow CFH to use their property at NE 8th Street and 108th Avenue NE as a temporary "bridge" shelter in Downtown Bellevue while the current winter shelter is brought up to fire code for year-round operation.
“This is a major step in the provision of emergency services for men experiencing homelessness on the Eastside,” said Mayor John Chelminiak in the City's media statement. “It is another example of how the city, our human services providers, our residents and the business community are stepping up to meet the challenge of homelessness. On behalf of the city, I want to thank Lawrence Lui and Cloudvue for allowing us to use the site during this critical transition period.”
According to the announcement, next steps in the process include:
- Beginning in September, overnight facilities will be made available by Cloudvue in the former First Congregational Church site. This site has served as a shelter for men and women in the past. The Day Center will continue operation at Lincoln Center, linking men with services. It will remain as a check-in site for men, who will then be transported to the Cloudvue site.
- In November or December, CFH will complete fire code upgrades by adding sprinklers to the current Men’s Winter Shelter at Lincoln Center located on 116th Avenue NE. The facility will then begin full-time operation and will not have to close every May as it has in past years. However, this is only a temporary three-year location until a permanent shelter is constructed.
- Work will continue by CFH and King County to site a new men’s shelter on property owned by King County on Eastgate Way. This site is referred to in the planning documents as the County Solid Waste site. CFH and King County have stated the current goal is to have it sited, built and operational by September 2022.
“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the City of Bellevue and Congregations for the Homeless to temporarily utilize our property as a short-term shelter for men experiencing homelessness in our community while Lincoln Center receives upgrades,” said Lawrence Lui, president of Cloudvue, in the City's statement. “The services Congregations for the Homeless provide for Bellevue and the Eastside region are important, and we are honored to assist to ensure these services continue.”
The Bellevue Downtown Association Board of Directors received a progress briefing in July from City leadership and Congregations for the Homeless Executive Director David Bowling. Board members shared their appreciation for their partnership and thoughtful, action-focused collaboration with the business community.
According to the 2019 Count Us In report, 337 unsheltered people were found in East King County. Responding to the increasing need, Bellevue has hosted a low-barrier men’s shelter, located at interim sites throughout the city since 2008. The city also continues to work closely with Kirkland and Redmond to provide shelter for youth, women, families and men. The current winter shelter at Lincoln Center averages 91 men a night.
A fundraising campaign in the Bellevue business community, led by Kevin Wallace of Wallace Properties, raised nearly $800,000 to fund improvements needed at Lincoln Center to operate year-round.
BDA Member Contributors:
Added Chelminiak from the statement, “We also couldn’t have gotten this far without the private fundraising efforts of former Councilmember Kevin Wallace and his support of CFH. Thanks to his diligent work, necessary code-mandated improvements to the Lincoln Center site will be put in place much faster.”
Read the City of Bellevue's full news release.
CFH Community Partners - Design and Construction Services