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.
To make it easier for organizations to establish homeless shelters in Bellevue, the city in 2018 adopted a land use code amendment that ensures communications between the community and homeless services providers through a Good Neighbor Agreement Advisory Committee. One such committee was formed in early 2021, after Congregations for the Homeless applied for a conditional use permit for a men's shelter in Eastgate.
Bellevue and other Eastside cities and nonprofits are also working together to address homelessness in other ways. Bellevue's general strategies and tactics, 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 Food Banks and Shelters page is a resource for individuals and families in need.
Reporting and Unauthorized Encampments
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.