The process of siting a men’s shelter and affordable housing development in Bellevue took another faltering step forward last week, although nonprofit partners developing the project have no more clarity on where they could expect to build or whether the project will be approved at all.
As conceived, the project includes a 100-bed low-barrier shelter, a 125-seat day center and cafeteria and roughly 50 - 60 units of housing. Half of those units would be set aside for low-income folks, and the other half for people transitioning out of homelessness.
There are two main sites under consideration: the Eastgate site, which is popular among housing advocates and sits adjacent to a medical facility and Bellevue City College, and a Sound Transit property near a future maintenance facility farther to the north.
A third option, called Lincoln Center, is the current location for the temporary men’s shelter, but was not much discussed.
The council insisted on parallel processes out of deference to vocal opposition by neighbors who say that the Eastgate site is too close to residences to host a low-barrier men’s overnight shelter and day center. To put potentially intoxicated men that close to both homes and the college would make the community unsafe, they said.
The maintenance yard, conversely, is set apart and may include excess property that could be slated for affordable housing.
Advocates for the Eastgate site, which include the nonprofit partners tasked with developing the project, say that there is little public transit to and from the maintenance facility, and that the southern location is close to the infrastructure and services that the men need to successfully transition out of homelessness.
They are also facing stiff deadlines to apply for funding for the project.
*A previous version of this article misstated the number of housing units as 100 rather than 50 - 60. We regret the error.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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