Permanent homeless shelter for men may be built in Bellevue

King County has dubbed a parcel of land it owns on SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue as surplus that it no longer needs, opening it up to be a potential site for the homeless shelter.

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"Just this year a man who had been using the Congregations For the Homeless emergency shelter died in [a] dumpster on the East Side just weeks after we had to close our doors," said CFH executive director David Bowling.

Bowling knows that the temporary shelter CFH runs six months is a year is risking lives, but for homeless men it's the only option.

He wants a permanent solution with a permanent shelter on this land, which is next to the Seattle Humane Society.

There have been years of controversy and anger over building a full-time homeless shelter for men in Bellevue.

It's been discussed since 2014. Other site proposals met fierce opposition.

This time, supporters believe this site will work for everyone, it's away from schools and residences but near social services and transport.

"If we could get past the debate over whether to do this and where to do this and start talking about how to do it, we can get to a place where we meet the interests and needs of the neighborhood as well as the needs of the people who are in need of homes, said King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci.

"It's really not so much about a site, it's about lives and it's about saving lives and changing those lives," Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak said.

It will still take years to build a shelter, so CFH is trying to get Bellevue to sign off on keeping its temporary shelter open year-round.

Bellevue says the permitting process for a shelter starts now.

"A year-round permanent shelter means no man will have to lose his life because a dumpster was the only shelter available to him," Bowling said.