Hygiene Services Available for People Living Homeless

In 2018, Seattle is investing in homeless services that help people find and maintain stable housing. More emergency shelters are including basic hygiene services like showers and laundry to reduce the burden of people experiencing homelessness having to go door-to-door to meet basic needs.

21 of 22 shelter programs include hygiene services in 2018

  • Seattle increased its investment in 21/22 shelters that provide hygiene services like showers, restrooms, and laundry as well as other amenities like extended stay hours, storage, and case workers.
  • These shelters will serve over 1,400 people per night in 2018.
  • Enhanced shelters provide more of a “one-stop shop” approach to reduce the door-to-door burden for people already in crisis to meet their basic needs like eating breakfast, taking a shower, doing laundry, and sleeping.
  • 6 managed encampments provide hygiene services for up to 300 people per night.

Seattle supports standalone restrooms, showers, and laundry for people experiencing homelessness

  • 11 Day Centers offer hygiene services for drop-in clients in Seattle
    • All populations are served by these day centers. (Youth/Young Adults, Single Males/Females, Couples, Families with Children)
  • 3 Low Income Housing Institute Urban Rest Stop locations offer hygiene services in Ballard, downtown Seattle and the University District
  • 4 Community Centers offer showers and restrooms (Delridge, Green Lake, Miller, Rainier) to people experiencing homelessness
  • 7 Community Pools offer showers and restrooms for Seattle Public School children and their families experiencing homelessness
  • These 11 Community Centers and Community Pools are located throughout Seattle, in every district

Seattle supports 117 restrooms available to all members of the public

  • 5 portable toilets placed near public transportation stops in neighborhoods throughout the city
  • 27 public libraries throughout Seattle
  • 85 city parks throughout Seattle

We applaud our partners that help provide these necessary services for people experiencing homelessness in Seattle. People need emergency services to help them recover from homelessness and find permanent housing. Seattle supports co-locating these services so that people can focus on their next step – finding a home.

Navigation Center to begin accepting referrals

Beginning tomorrow, the City’s new Navigation Center, an enhanced shelter that accepts people with pets, partners, and possessions, as well as substance abuse disorders, will accept referrals from the Navigation Team. Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) Executive Director Daniel Malone toured the facility, located at the Pearl Warren Building. The Navigation Center is modeled after a similar facility in San Francisco, which caters to those living unsheltered who face barriers to traditional shelter.

“This is a major milestone in the City’s effort to make our homelessness services system laser focused on meeting individualized needs of people,” said Mayor Murray. “That’s how you build a pathway to stable housing. Through collaboration with service providers and community partners, we are now one step closer to putting people experiencing homelessness on that path.”

In June 2016 Mayor Murray signed an Executive Order directing the creation of a low-barrier, one-stop service center for unsheltered individuals  to receive the customized support they need to move from the streets back into permanent homes.

The Navigation Center is modeled on the San Francisco Navigation Center, the first of its kind, 24/7, dormitory-style living facility that provides people living outside with shower, bathroom, laundry and dining facilities, a place to store their belongings, as well as round-the-clock case management, mental and behavioral health services, and connections to benefit programs and housing, all in one location.

The Seattle Navigation Center will be particularly suited to people who choose to stay in nearby encampments rather than shelters, where partners, pets or possessions are not typically allowed. The center will prioritize placement for currently unsheltered individuals who have been referred through the Navigation Team, comprised of specially trained social workers and SPD outreach efforts.

The DESC, in partnership with Operation Sack Lunch, were selected through a competitive process to operate Navigation Center. DESC will operate the 24-hour, low-barrier shelter while Operation Sack Lunch will provide food and meal support.

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Mayor Murray, Human Services Department announce $30 million request for proposals for homeless services


Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a request for proposals (RFP) for $30 million of funding for homelessness services, the first time the City of Seattle has competitively bid its homeless services contracts in more than a decade. The RFP being issued by the Human Services Department (HSD) reflects the changes made under the City’s plan to address homelessness, Pathways Home, including a major focus on getting people into permanent housing. The RFP is for funding available for 2018.

“After asking national experts what wasn’t working in our homelessness services system, we are taking the major step of rebidding our contracts for the first time in a decade,” said Mayor Murray. “We are taking our system from a series of disconnected, boutique services, to a coordinated effort to connect people with what they need and get them into permanent housing. In addition to the Navigation Team, the Navigation Center and our ongoing work to address this crisis like the emergency it is, this step will help these services be more effective and impactful into the future.”

Awards made through the RFP process will be based on the key performance targets and data used by the City, including how many people are exiting homelessness into permanent housing; how long people are spending in the homelessness services system; how many people return to being homeless; how many people are entering homelessness; and ensuring we are using all available resources such as shelter beds. The funds will invest in prevention, diversion, outreach and engagement, emergency services (such as shelters), transitional housing, rapid rehousing/rental subsidies, and permanent supportive housing.

The RFP is just one tool the City is using in coordination with King County and United Way of King County to help the region address homelessness and move people into housing. All three organizations are funders who have agreed upon the performance targets listed above. By aligning across all priorities, these funders are better able to tie funding to needed outcomes. Importantly, proposals that demonstrate collaboration among programs to achieve results will receive additional credit in the review process.

HSD has been working with agencies and organizations over the past year to prepare for the outcome-based targets outlined in the RFP.

“Through this RFP, the City joins with other major funders in the area to shift from a collection of programs that are contributing to those most in need in our community, to a more integrated system that is laser-focused on supporting people who are homelessness in becoming stable and housed,” said Catherine L. Lester, Director of HSD. “The RFP looks across all of our investments with an eye toward both performance and to addressing institutionalized racism that too often contributes to homelessness.”

In conjunction with the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), HSD has developed the RFP to reflect a commitment to funding culturally-responsive services that create positive outcomes for people in need. Agencies applying for HSD funding through this RFP must demonstrate the ability to institute these principles through routine delivery of services that are person-centered, culturally competent, responsive, relevant, and accessible.

Additionally, HSD has engaged with the community in preparing the RFP itself. Councilmembers and their staffs, provider boards and coalitions, philanthropy partners, and individuals who have experience living homeless were among the audiences for more than 60 presentations given during the development of the RFP. The feedback from these sessions, as well as the results of the 2016 Needs Assessment survey that HSD conducted of more than 1,000 people living homeless, the 2015 Homeless Investment Analysis, as well as the Barbara Poppe and Focus Strategies reports were also used to inform the RFP development.

Scoring for rapid rehousing, transitional housing, emergency shelter, and permanent supportive housing will be weighted 40 percent on past performance based on the data agencies provided from January 2017 to June 2017, and 60 percent on their application and budget responses in the RFP. Other projects will be scored entirely on the application and budget responses. Applicants also will have an interview with rating panels to discuss their proposals as part of the review process. Rating panels will include city staff with knowledge of the various service areas, other public funders, staff from philanthropic institutions, and people with lived experience of homelessness.

The deadline for proposal submission is Sept. 9 and final awards will be announced in December.  Contracts will cover the 2018 fiscal year that begins in January.

HSD will host three information sessions for prospective applicants. These information sessions are:

  • Thursday, July 6 from 1:30-3:30 pm
    Lake City Public Library, 12501 28th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98125
  • Monday, July 10 from 1:30-3:30 pm
    Douglas-Truth Public Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122
  • Monday, July 17 from 10:30 am -12:30 pm
    Columbia City Public Library, 4721 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Further information about applying for the RFP is available on the City’s website at www.seattle.gov/homeless-investments-rfp.

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Mayor Murray’s statement on point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness

Today, All Home King County released “Count Us In,” a point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness in our community. This year’s survey utilized a new counting methodology to ensure greater accuracy. Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement about the City of Seattle’s actions to address the homelessness crisis:

The point-in-time count confirmed we are living in a homelessness crisis, but it also provided new, vital information about who precisely is living unsheltered—and more important, why they are living unsheltered. We set out to do a more rigorous, comprehensive, and thorough count than ever this year so we could assess the specifics of this crisis and develop concrete solutions to it.

Knowing that King County’s unsheltered population overwhelmingly comes from King County, knowing that the unsheltered population is disproportionately made up of people of color, and knowing the actual percentages of unsheltered people who have substance abuse disorders or are victims of domestic violence, helps us turn spreadsheets of numbers into faces with names.

Since this count was taken, we’ve aggressively implemented a hands-on to addressing this crisis. Our Navigation Team of social workers, health professionals, and police officers have successfully engaged with more 600 people and connected services and housing to more than 250. This is how individualized services can help and how having a complete picture of this crisis helps us better service those experiencing it.

In addition to adding 175 new enhanced shelter beds that will accept people with partners, pets, possessions, or a substance abuse disorder, our Human Services Department will rebid $30 million homeless service contracts to ensure these are meeting our goals. It is critical that we continue to collect data like the Point in Time count and ensure our funding and programming are meeting the needs of people living unsheltered.

For more information on the City’s homelessness response, visit seattle.gov/homelessness.

For more information on Count Us In and All Home, visit allhomekc.org.



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Lazarus Day Center responds to homelessness crisis with devotion to service

Story by Hillary Sanders.

The Lazarus computer lab gives visitors access to software like Microsoft Word and provides an internet connection for clients to engage in housing and job searching, communicating on social media, or just watching a YouTube video to unwind. The computer lab is currently accommodating between 50 and 60 people per week.

As the homelessness crisis peaked in 2016, the Lazarus Day Center in Pioneer Square found itself serving more homeless and marginally-housed people than ever this last year.

“The Laz” as it’s lovingly called, provides a range of services for homeless and marginally housed people aged 50 and over. Those include laundry, showers, meals, counselling, housing case management, activities and classes, and as of this year, a 6-station computer lab.

As plans were being made to clear The Jungle, volunteers from the Laz went to the Seattle City Council and fought hard to get the funds that allowed the center to open earlier and provide more meals and add an additional housing case manager.

The Laz secured housing for 49 people in 2016 and expect that number to go up in 2017. With the help of the Technology Matching Fund, The Lazarus has also been establishing a technology center for its clients.

Prior to the construction of their 6-station computer lab, the Laz did not have computers or internet access for its clients. They now have staff building out classes specifically to help people develop computer skills.

According to Jennifer Newman, the Program Director at St. Martin de Porres Shelter and Lazarus Day Center, these classes cover everything from resume building, learning Word, looking for housing, job searching, and connecting with family on social media.

“We want to expose people to a variety of activities and classes to enrich their lives but also, to build relationships founded on trust and respect. This enables us to engage clients in meaningful housing case management,” Newman says.

Between the additional meals, the new computer lab, classes, and other events, the Lazarus is now strained when it comes to physical space — but Newman says that they’re devoted to continuing to help more and more people regardless.

In 2016 the City of Seattle awarded 10 community organizations a total of $320,000 in Technology Matching Funds (TMF). This funding will assist more than 2,500 residents in historically underserved or underrepresented communities who lack the necessary technology access and essential digital skills to thrive in the 21st century.