Temporary ‘bridge’ site to operate while Lincoln Center is improved
The City of Bellevue will begin providing year-round emergency shelter for men starting in September. The services will continue to be provided by Congregations for the Homeless (CFH). The early start date is made possible by an agreement with Cloudvue to allow CFH to use their property at Northeast Eighth Street and 108th Avenue Northeast as a temporary "bridge" shelter while the current winter shelter is brought up to fire code for year-round operation.
“This is a major step in the provision of emergency services for men experiencing homelessness on the Eastside,” said Mayor John Chelminiak. “It is another example of how the city, our human services providers, our residents and the business community are stepping up to meet the challenge of homelessness. On behalf of the city, I want to thank Lawrence Lui and Cloudvue for allowing us to use the site during this critical transition period.”
Next steps in the process include:
- Beginning in September, overnight facilities will be made available by Cloudvue in the former First Congregational Church site. This site has served as a shelter for men and women in the past. The Day Center will continue operation at Lincoln Center, linking men with services. It will remain as a check-in site for men, who will then be transported to the Cloudvue site.
- In November or December, CFH will complete fire code upgrades by adding sprinklers to the current Men’s Winter Shelter at Lincoln Center located on 116th Avenue Northeast. The facility will then begin full-time operation and will not have to close every May as it has in past years. However, this is only a temporary three-year location until a permanent shelter is constructed.
- Work will continue by CFH and King County to site a new men’s shelter on property owned by King County on Eastgate Way. This site is referred to in the planning documents as the County Solid Waste site. CFH and King County have stated the current goal is to have it sited, built and operational by September 2022.
“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the City of Bellevue and Congregations for the Homeless to temporarily utilize our property as a short-term shelter for men experiencing homelessness in our community while Lincoln Center receives upgrades,” said Lawrence Lui, president of Cloudvue. “The services Congregations for the Homeless provide for Bellevue and the Eastside region are important, and we are honored to assist to ensure these services continue.”
“Congregations for the Homeless is deeply grateful to Cloudvue for providing an interim location for up to 100 men on the Eastside to access life-saving shelter and services,” said David Bowling, executive director of CFH. “We appreciate our partnership with the business community, individual donors and the City of Bellevue, who have made it possible to provide high-quality services that benefit the entire community year-round.”
According to the 2019 Count Us In report, 337 unsheltered people were found in East King County. Responding to the increasing need, Bellevue has hosted a low-barrier men’s shelter, located at interim sites throughout the city since 2008. The city also continues to work closely with Kirkland and Redmond to provide shelter for youth, women, families and men. The current winter shelter at Lincoln Center averages 91 men a night.
“We also couldn’t have gotten this far without the private fundraising efforts of former Councilmember Kevin Wallace and his support of CFH,” added Chelminiak. “Thanks to his diligent work, necessary code-mandated improvements to the Lincoln Center site will be put in place much faster.”
“This bridge site is crucial to our ability to enforce existing laws, while providing support for individuals experiencing homelessness. It’s also instrumental in successfully moving individuals out of homelessness and into stable housing.”
- Deputy Mayor Lynne Robinson
“Homelessness is a human issue everyone has to work together to come up with solutions. What we have here is a great example of partnership; a collaboration by the City of Bellevue, Congregations for the Homeless, individuals and businesses, working together to help our homeless population. Going forward, we need to do this right, but much more is yet to be done. We’re eager to continue this important partnership.”
- Councilmember Conrad Lee
“The City Council, staff, residents and the business community rallied around the task of not only securing a temporary bridge site but also funding the much-needed improvements to Lincoln Center. The actions taken here illustrate what can be accomplished when we focus and embrace our common goals of compassionate and proactive solutions to fix homelessness in our city. We need to continue to work together as a community to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time in Bellevue.”
- Councilmember Jared Nieuwenhuis
“I was pleased to champion the idea of making Lincoln Center into a year-round shelter pending Congregations for the Homeless’ construction of a permanent facility. This ‘bridge’ location allows CFH to continue providing valuable services to homeless men until the temporary year-round shelter opens in November. As early as September, we will have immediate shelter available 365 days a year for men transitioning out of homelessness. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment and appreciate the hard work of all our community members, most notably the significant contributions of Cloudvue and Kevin Wallace.”
- Councilmember Jennifer Robertson
“This partnership between the city, business community and Congregations for the Homeless is quite an achievement. We’re seeing the positive results from Bellevue’s strategic and thoughtful approach to addressing homelessness. Opening the bridge and offering year-round support services will change lives for the better and benefit our entire community. Thank you everyone who came together to make this big step happen.”
- Councilmember John Stokes
“The opening of the bridge site and availability of year-round services in Bellevue, demonstrates our strong commitment to provide our most vulnerable individuals with a pathway out of homelessness. These available beds, hand in hand with the necessary services, change lives and directly contribute to overall community benefits, including public safety for everyone. I want to thank Lawrence Lui for offering the bridge site, along with Kevin Wallace, Congregations for the Homeless and city staff for all their hard work to provide a bridge site; one piece of the solution for this urgent and complex community issue.”
- Councilmember Janice Zahn