November 27, 2013
Vol: 27 No: 48

News

City budget includes $200,000 to provide 30 homeless families emergency shelter

by: Rosette Royale , Assistant Editor

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The city will spend $200,000 next year to pay for emergency shelter for up to 30 homeless families.

As part of the city’s 2014 budget, the Seattle City Council approved $200,000 to assist some of the thousands of homeless families in the region in need of housing and shelter. The funding will be available March 1, 2014.

The money will increase the city’s ability to pay for emergency shelter for up to 30 homeless families that have been prioritized by Family Housing Connection (FHC), a service that acts as a coordinated entry point for King County families in need of housing and resources. A family member can contact FHC by calling 211.

Upon entering emergency shelter, families will be connected with rental assistance or entered into a rapid re-housing program. The goal is to move families out of shelter and into permanent housing within 30 days.

The funds will be overseen by the city’s Human Services Department.

While the $200,000 will provide emergency shelter for up to 30 families, there are still thousands of families in the county in need of housing.

As of of Oct. 22, data from FHC shows that 4,250 families in its system were waiting for a referral to emergency housing. In October, 415 families stayed in places “not meant for human habitation,” conditions often described as living on the streets, in cars or encampments, according to FHC.

FHC defines a family as a pregnant woman or a parent who is 18 or older who cares for at least one child 17 or younger. FHC is run by Catholic Community Services.

The funds for emergency shelter are part of $650,000 overall approved by the city council to move families into housing.

Housing advocates say providing housing and shelter for families, particularly those with children, should be a priority for the city. In the late summer, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH) discussed a proposal to increase family shelter in King County. SKCCH noted that while FHC prioritized families living on the streets, in cars or encampments, families still must wait months for an opening at an emergency shelter.

“There are no options for families who need a place to stay tonight,” SKCCH noted.

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