Homeless families are able to utilize the amenities provided by the New Bethlehem Day Center six times per week from 2 to 8 p.m. The New Bethlehem Project is one of the primary organizations involved with the permanent shelter. Courtesy of New Bethlehem Project

Homeless families are able to utilize the amenities provided by the New Bethlehem Day Center six times per week from 2 to 8 p.m. The New Bethlehem Project is one of the primary organizations involved with the permanent shelter. Courtesy of New Bethlehem Project

Kirkland homeless women’s, family shelter to serve the Eastside 24/7

The facility will be the first of its kind on the Eastside.

  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 2:58pm
  • News

Last month, the Kirkland City Council unanimously cast two votes that included the purchase of land for a shelter intended to house and support women and families experiencing homelessness on the Eastside.

The purchase marks a step forward in a collaborative effort between the city and several homeless shelters and facilities operating in the area.

The purchase of the property acts as part of a city work program that partners with A Regional Coalition for Housing and other nonprofit organizations to build a permanent, 24/7 women’s and family shelter in Kirkland. The property was purchased from the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church for $600,000 and is part of an area presently occupied by the Salt House Church.

The city and the current property owner hope to close the transaction in the next few months.

The 100-bed shelter will offer services that are currently either not provided or only limitedly offered by the various facilities on the Eastside, including on-site case management, housing navigation, access to several service providers and other amenities.

Organizations involved with the project include Catholic Community Services, the New Bethlehem Project (which helps families with children), The Sophia Way (which supports single, adult women), the Salt House Church and the City of Kirkland. Other partners also include Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Louise Catholic Church and the Lake Washington Methodist Church.

“It is a rare thing to have all these groups and the larger groups — the state, the county, ARCH — all pulling in the same direction,” Tracey Dunlap, Kirkland’s deputy city manager, said. “Everybody has been so open to it.”

Though design and construction for the shelter are roughly estimated to start sometime in 2019, there are still some variables that have made exact dates difficult to predict. Dunlap said the state funding cycle, which usually begins in the fall, was delayed due to the belated passing of the capital budget.

Ordinarily, funding would have been distributed in December but because of the setback, the timeline is off-cycle.

“We’re a little cautious about giving a date and creating an expectation because we don’t have total control, though we have a lot of support,” Dunlap said. “We don’t have total control of the funding.”

In total, about $9 million will be spent on the shelter. The New Bethlehem Project and The Sophia Way are helping fund a portion of this for the project, having committed to raising $2 million for the planned shelter. Both intend to respectively raise $1 million with help from the community.

“To me, this is emblematic of what’s going on in the project,” Bill Hallerman, agency director of Catholic Community Services, said. “We have Lutherans and Catholics and the city and Sophia Way and the Methodist folks and all these different folks working together because of a commitment to try to do something about homelessness on the Eastside.”

Rebecca Nightingale, a St. Louise parish member and New Bethlehem fund development committee chair, added, “There has been no answer up until this point” as there has never been a shelter of this kind — one that is open 24/7 and to all demographics — on the Eastside. She said homeless families are often split up because men are not always allowed in certain shelters.

Those involved with the project do not necessarily see the shelter as a solution to homelessness but rather a positive and necessary step. Angela Murray, executive director of The Sophia Way, said it is a reaction to a crisis-response system.

“Crises don’t always happen during business hours,” she said.

Dunlap added that, even once the shelter is built, it will not necessarily be “complete.” They will consider how it will continue to running effectively.

“This isn’t an event,” she said. “This is a continuum.”

In addition to the purchasing of the property for the shelter, the Kirkland council vote also involves the Houghton Court Apartments, which are owned by the city. This property includes 15 spaces between two apartment buildings located at 6705 and 6711 106th Ave. N.E.

Part of this deal entails there be a building swap with the King County Housing Authority, which oversees a building the city leases and uses for park maintenance. Ultimately, the swap will give the city ownership of the parks maintenance building, with KCHA owning the Houghton Courts Apartments.

KCHA intends to attend to repair needs and necessary upgrades while still operating the apartments for public housing.

Through this, council is hoping to push affordable housing in Kirkland forward and keep the city moving toward achieving a 2017-18 work plan item, which seeks to expand maintenance center capacity to fulfill the service needs of the larger city.

The shelter, though, is of particular interest. To city personnel and organizations involved with its eventual construction, the purchase of the property signifies a major step in the right direction.

“It’s a great story about how much this entire community cares and wants to do something,” Kathy Cummings, the city’s communications program manager, said. “Their values are what drive it and enable all of us to work together.”

To contribute financially to the shelter, visit eastsidecares.org.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. FILE PHOTO
King County sheriff releases message about Minneapolis Police officer

Mitzi Johanknecht calls video of officer kneeling on neck of George Floyd ‘heartbreaking and disturbing’

File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
                                File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
Rural King County mayors want state to let them enter Phase 2

Mayors cite heavy economic damage from prolonged shutdown.

New dashboard shows how far along King County is to meeting Phase II metrics

The county has met more than half its goals, but the ones it hasn’t met are critical in determining how many people are still being infected, and how quickly people are being tested.

As sales tax plummets in King County, mental health and drug program funding dries up

County will need to make severe cuts to MIDD program this year.

Auburn Mountain View Cemetery Manager Craig Hudson, center, confers with maintenance workers David Partridge, left, and Zach Hopper in March 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
State allows weddings, funerals, religious services to restart with restrictions

Gov. Inslee issues new rules during May 27 news conference.

State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

Kirkland Urban entrance. Blake Peterson/staff photo
Hopelink, Kirkland Urban announce food drive

A site at Kirkland Urban will be open for food drop-offs every Thursday for the rest of 2020.

Most Read