City announces location of first homeless navigation center
by: Graham Johnson
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Wednesday announced the location of the city's first "navigation center" to help the homeless.
It will be at 606 12th Avenue, at the edge of the International District near Beacon Hill.
The center will open this spring and is modeled after a similar center in San Francisco.
The idea is for the center to be open 24/7 and connect people with services.
People can bring their pets and possessions.
They will not be required to be sober, although no alcohol or drug use will be allowed on site.
City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw visited the San Francisco site and says the navigation center model is an improvement over most of Seattle's current shelters, which kick people out in the morning and onto the streets.
"This has been a real problem because people don't get better that way and our businesses are very upset," Bagshaw said.
KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn is across the street from the future center in Seattle.
Workers see a lot of petty crime related to nearby camping.
"We've seen a lot of the negative impacts of not providing these services and while we're nervous to have it right next door, we're excited that these services might actually be offered and might start to solve this problem," said Claire Mueller of KuKuRaZa.
Murray’s office said the operating budget for the new center will be $2.1 million.
City officials said they’re still researching how much money it will cost to renovate the building, which is owned by the Seattle Indian Services Commission and leased to the city.
The building is partially wrapped in plastic because of water leaks.