City announces navigation center operators

SEATTLE (November 14, 2016) – Today, the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) announced that the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), in partnership with Operation Sack Lunch, has been selected to operate Seattle’s navigation center site when it opens later this year. DESC will operate the 24-hour, low-barrier shelter while Operation Sack Lunch will provide food and meal support to those at the shelter.

“As the City works to implement the long-term strategies to address our homelessness crisis laid out in Pathways Home, we must immediately address the need for low-barrier and 24-hour shelter options,” said Mayor Murray. “Today’s selection of the new navigation center operators brings us one step closer to providing emergency shelter and services to people who are not well served by our current system.”

On June 9, Mayor Murray issued an executive order directing the creation of a new low-barrier, one-stop service center for people living unsheltered to receive personalized support and transition them into permanent housing. This award intends that the Downtown Emergency Services Center, in partnership with Operation Sack Lunch, will offer support for basic needs like shelter, hygiene, meals, secure and accessible storage, case management, and supportive services including referrals for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Seattle’s navigation center will be modeled on the San Francisco Navigation Center,  a dormitory-style living facility that provides people living outside with shower, bathroom, laundry and dining facilities, and a place to store their belongings. The navigation center will be a 24/7 site that welcomes pets, couples and individuals currently struggling with addiction.

“Through a collaborative approach, the Downtown Emergency Services Center and Operation Sack Lunch will work together to provide the wraparound client services and meal support to make the Seattle Navigation Center successful,” said Human Services Department Director Catherine Lester. “We know that increasing access to low-barrier, 24-hour shelter is one of the most important ways we can transform our response to the growing number of people living unsheltered in our city.”

HSD’s contracted outreach providers will continue to engage individuals and families experiencing homelessness and facilitate referrals to the Navigation Center. Priority will be for those who have relocated from the I-5 East Duwamish Greenbelt to the transitional encampment at Royal Brougham Way.

The $1.67M in allocated funding for this project is derived from the City of Seattle Homelessness State of Emergency funding ($475,000), Washington State Department of Commerce ($600,000) and private donations ($600,000).

The Human Services Department, in coordination with partners, continues to review potential sites for the navigation center. The awards announced today are conditional, contingent on the finalization of budget and other contract details.

Individuals, businesses, and philanthropic organizations can make donations to the navigation center on the United Way of King County website.