Seattle City Council
3/21/2006 2:10:00 PM
Michael Fong (206) 684-8808
CITY’S HOMELESS SHELTER CONTRACTS EXTENDED
City staff continuing efforts to ensure no net-loss of shelter beds in 2006
SEATTLE –Contracts with Seattle shelter providers have been extended another month to the end of April, according to a report provided by the city’s Human Services Department this morning in the Council's Housing, Human Services and Health Committee. This action, taken with the support of committee members, will allow more time for the city to meet its goal of ensuring no net-loss of shelter beds for 2006.
Some homeless advocates and shelter providers have expressed concerns about a recent shift to fund supportive services and transitional housing programs as a key strategy toward ending homelessness. Their concern is that the funding shift could result in fewer emergency shelter beds in Seattle.
In response, the City Council, with the support of the Mayor, added $350,000 in the 2006 budget to alleviate any loss of shelter beds. With the additional amount of funds, the shelter program will exceed $6.5 million. Staff in the Human Services Department continues its review of applications for the additional funding and today were given more time to evaluate the proposals.
In the meantime, existing contracts with the Salvation Army, SHARE/WHEEL, Downtown Emergency Services Center and the Archdiocesan Housing Authority have been extended until May 1.
"I'm pleased a thorough evaluation is taking place that will ensure we have the same number of shelter beds this year as we did last year," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "We are committed to that goal—even if it takes an extra month to do it right."
The extension of the contracts will mean that the roughly 2,000 shelter beds currently funded by the city will remain in place. Human Services Department staff will provide another update to Rasmussen's committee on April 4th at 9:00 a.m.