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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: More housing for chronically homeless

10/30/2008  12:55:00 PM
Julie Moore, Office of Housing, (206) 684-0604
Jared Erlandson, United Way of King County, (206) 461-3742

More housing for chronically homeless
City of Seattle, United Way of King County partner to secure site for 60-unit project

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels today announced a funding partnership between the City of Seattle and the United Way of King County to help secure a future site for approximately 60 new housing units for the chronically homeless.

“This partnership will provide safe, decent homes for some of our most vulnerable individuals,” said Nickels. “It’s one more important step in our commitment to end the cycle of chronic homelessness.”

The Compass Center project, now in the early design stage, is the first to be funded under the city’s recently expanded Bridge Loan program which allows nonprofit agencies to secure sites while they complete other fundraising and design work. The site acquisition will be funded through a combination of $1.2 million from the Seattle Housing Levy and $800,000 from the United Way of King County.

As part of its $25 million campaign to end chronic homelessness in King County, the United Way has pledged up to $5 million over two years to expand the city’s existing Bridge Loan program. With United Way support, the city anticipates the program will secure three to four development projects and create an additional 150 to 200 units for the chronically homeless. United Way anticipates helping to fund supportive services for the residents once the projects are completed.

“United Way of King County is about creating lasting change in our community,” said Jon Fine, United Way President and CEO. “The Bridge Loan program is one example of how we do that. With support from the City of Seattle, this is an innovative program that will allow the dollars loaned to be reinvested into services once repaid.”

This commitment will increase the number of permanent supportive housing units for chronically homeless individuals by providing bridge loans on a revolving basis to low-income housing developers for site acquisition and related expenses. The city’s Office of Housing will administer the Bridge Loan program, including identifying projects and accounting for the lending of United Way funds. For all projects chosen for the program, the Office of Housing and United Way will both contribute bridge loan funds.

Along with King County, the City of Seattle and the United Way are the major funders of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County and the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Completed in the spring of 2005, the plan provides a clear vision and action steps to improve the broad spectrum of services for homeless individuals and families. The goals of the plan promote long-term and sustainable solutions to homelessness including alignment of funding, programs and services among the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

In 2008, the City of Seattle allocated $38 million toward ending homelessness, through a combination of city general funds, federal and state funding, and other sources. The Mayor’s proposed 2009-2010 budget allocates a record $52.2 million in general fund on human services to help the least fortunate, including $2.9 million for food assistance.

In 2007, the United Way announced its efforts to raise $25 million to provide permanent, supportive housing to 1,000 of the county's most vulnerable citizens as part of its ongoing campaign to end homelessness. All housing will include wrap-around mental health and chemical dependency services as well as employment services. The United Way is uniquely positioned to leverage its own health and human services expertise, a powerful base of donors and volunteers, public advocacy and outcome-based funding to help identify and solve chronic community wide issues within our region.

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