As Bellevue has grown in population and transitioned into a more urban environment, homelessness, a nationwide issue, has become more visible here. Root causes of homelessness include lack of affordable housing, low-paying jobs, domestic violence, chronic health problems, substance abuse and mental health issues.
Bellevue and other Eastside cities and nonprofits are working together to address homelessness. The strategies and tactics used, designed to be both compassionate and pragmatic, include:
- Identifying risk factors to help prevent individuals from falling into homelessness
- Providing subsidized housing
- Leveraging community partnerships in hosting rotating shelters
The goal is to prevent homelessness if possible and, when it does occur, to transition individuals back into stable housing as soon as possible.
For years, a one-night count has been made of people who are homeless and sleeping outside in King County. All Home, a regional coalition of local governments and human services agencies. conducts the count.
According to the 2019 Count Us In report, 337 unsheltered people were found in East King County. In 2018, 393 individuals without shelter were tallied in East county. In 2017, the number was 319.
Do you need help?
The Local Service Agencies page is a resource for individuals and families in need.
Reporting and Unauthorized Encampments
As in past years, the Congregations for the Homeless’ men’s emergency winter shelter closes for the season on May 1.
Due to a gap in time where a shelter will be unavailable and the warmer weather, shelter clients and homeless individuals will likely be more visible in the community. If you are concerned about a potential unauthorized encampment, please report it via:
- MyBellevue app
- Police non-emergency line at 425-577-5656 (If you feel unsafe or immediately threatened, please call 911.)
Bellevue has a compassionate enforcement approach to those experiencing homelessness. When the city is notified of an unlawful encampment, or someone that may need shelter or services, we use a team-based approach. This team includes an outreach worker, who directly connects individuals with the resources they need.
If individuals continue to violate local ordinances, the city will take the necessary enforcement steps to remove property. This process may several weeks to ensure that everyone involved is safe and legal requirements are met.