PorchLight (formerly Congregations for the Homeless) operates a 100-bed men's shelter in Eastgate, at 13668 SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue. Information about how to get space there or at other area shelters is available at Shelters and Safe Parking.
The City Council Vision priorities directed the city to “work toward an Eastside solution for a permanent location for a men’s winter homeless shelter.” This priority echoes the council’s 2014 Diversity Advantage plan, which includes an action item for “supporting the establishment of a year-round homeless shelter on the Eastside.”
To that end, the city hosted a men's shelter in interim locations from 2008 to 2023. The shelter operated only in the winter before shifting to a year-round model in 2019. A 100-bed facility at Lincoln Center in Wilburton served as the shelter location until July of 2023, when the facility moved to its permanent home in the Eastgate area off Interstate 90.
In 2018, after considerable public input, the city adopted a land use code amendment for homeless shelters that established a path for nonprofit and faith-based organizations seeking to establish shelters in Bellevue. In keeping with the code, a Good Neighbor Agreement Advisory Committee that includes residents who live within a mile of any proposed shelter ensures communication between the community and homeless services providers.
Permanent Shelter in Eastgate
In January 2021, PorchLight applied for a conditional use permit to build a permanent men's shelter in Eastgate. Porchlight had acquired from King County surplus property at 13620 SE Eastgate Way.
PorchLight partnered with Inland Group, Horizon Housing Alliance and Plymouth Housing to develop the nine-acre parcel into an Eastgate Housing campus, featuring permanent supportive housing and workforce housing as well as a shelter and day center.
On July 12, 2021, the City Council approved $3.6 million in supplemental funding for the development of the permanent shelter.
Community meetings early in this process provided an open dialogue between the applicant, the operator and surrounding property owners. The city's notice of application (Jan. 21, 2021 Weekly Permit Bulletin) give details about the project.
On Oct. 21, 2021, Bellevue’s Development Services Department completed its review of the shelter’s conditional use application. The city's notice of recommendation (Oct. 21, 2021 Weekly Permit Bulletin) offers details about the project leading up to the public hearing held by the Hearing Examiner on Nov. 4, 2021. On Nov. 19, 2021, the Hearing Examiner approved the conditional use permit.
The project broke ground in January 2022 and was completed in June 2023, immediately welcoming 100 men to the new permanent shelter.
Over 15 years Bellevue hosted a low-barrier men’s shelter, located at interim sites in four different neighborhoods: Crossroads, Northeast Bellevue, BelRed, downtown and Wilburton. A day services center also operated downtown. With community financial support, the Lincoln Center site got needed fire and life safety improvements in 2019.
Recognizing the challenges of a temporary shelter, the City Council set a goal to establish the shelter at a permanent location. The shelter moved into its permanent location at 13620 SE Eastgate Way in the summer of 2023.
Comprehensive Plan Shelter Policies
The city's Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2015, calls for city support for shelters, with the following provisions:
- HO-35: Support regional efforts to prevent homelessness, and make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time when it occurs. Provide a range of affordable housing options and support efforts to move homeless persons and families to long-term financial independence.
- HO-36: Collaborate with other jurisdictions and social service organizations to assure availability of emergency shelter and day centers that address homelessness.
- HS-14: Support agencies locating human service facilities in Bellevue and, where appropriate, encourage efficiencies through agency collocation and collaboration.
- HS-18: Support an intentional local community response to homelessness with housing and supportive services provided to families, youth and single adults.