Local

As indecision drags on, Burien denied extension on offer to accept homeless funds

BURIEN, Wash. — King County has denied a request from the City of Burien to extend the deadline to accept an offer of $1 million to build a pallet village to house the homeless.

This comes the day after Burien City Council failed to decide on whether to accept the funds ahead of a Nov. 27 deadline. After that session, City Manager Adolfo Bailon asked the county for an extension in order to give the council the chance to “reconsider all locations” for the potential pallet village.

The county denied the request on Tuesday, warning that if the city doesn’t take the money by the deadline, there’s no guarantee of future funding or resources for Burien’s homeless response efforts in the future.

Back in May, King County offered to $1 million to build at least 35 pallet shelters. The King County Regional Homelessness Authority would provide services to those shelters. The proposed locations for this pallet village were at lots in Boulevard Park, a lot owned by Seattle City Light, and a lot owned by the city of Burien. In a 3 to 3 vote with one council member abstaining, all 3 locations were shot down and no action was taken.

More than 30 people voiced their thoughts on the potential pallet village, and like the city council, the public’s opinion on the matter was split. Some believe this is the right way to help out those experiencing homelessness; however, those opposed to the pallet village say it creates both public health and safety issues.

“If the city council uses housing first, how will (a) tiny homes village constructed adjacent to Kennedy (High School) and Boulevard Park or any other place in Burien be safe?” one woman told the city council.

“What we need is courage. Courage to overcome the misconceptions of these homelessness programs so that we can actually serve our community better,” one man said.

The city council has decided to potentially hold a special meeting prior to the Nov. 27 deadline by the county to accept those funds. It is still not clear when or where this meeting will take place.