Concerns over housing purchased for Seattle homeless

This week, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced his latest plan to tackle the city’s homeless crisis. It includes a nearly $19 million purchase of an apartment complex in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood. The unit, Dockside Apartments, will be used to house 70 formerly homeless people. Harrell calls it “a victory step.”

When asked about community input when choosing the location, the mayor deferred to Sharon Lee with the Low Income Housing Institute. Lee says letters went out to anyone living within 500 feet of the building.

But shortly after his announcement, members of the Green Lake community reached out to KIRO 7 to say they had no prior notice. One woman, Katrina, says she lives within that 500-foot radius and never received a letter.

“Can we get some proof of any resident getting said letter?,” said Kristina. “Shouldn’t there be a period of notice when the surrounding community and literal next-door neighbors are allowed to comment and provide feedback?”

Another woman, Katherine Bennett, says she also lives across the street from the new apartments. “I’ve lived here a year and a half, and I didn’t get a letter.”

Low Income Housing Initiative’s Josh Castle says that’s not the case for most of the locals. He says he’s spent the last few weeks working to contact businesses in the community.

“In some cases it was hard to find a phone number, hard to find contact information. There’s a few people I am still trying to track down,” says Castle. “We sent out a ‘dear neighbor’ letter to the businesses and the neighbors in the area, and I also just did some outreach on my own. I called and emailed in any way that I could get a hold of people.”

There’s still a few weeks before residents will move in to the new building. Castle says he plans to continue with outreach, but that overall the community response has been positive.

“The neighborhood have just been so supportive, and offering donations, offering services, offering (to) volunteer. So we’ve just been grateful for the community’s support,” says Castle. “It warms my heart to see that there’s so much support in Green Lake, in that area.”

Several people KIRO 7 spoke with say they look forward to welcoming their new neighbors, and believe this housing is a positive thing for those in need.

One woman outside the building tells us, ‘”I think it’s good to change the demographic of this area. I think it’s a positive thing.”

Another neighbor agreed, saying “I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s awesome.”

Castle hopes the apartment will provide stability for everyone that moves in.

“It’s going to be very high quality of living. And it’s a lot of folks that haven’t experienced that in a long time, and they deserve it. And we’re just so happy to bring this kind of a beautiful building space for them to stay and live, and to get them the case manager that they need,” says Castle.