Kent considers new homeless shelter

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 14 at 9:02 PM

Proposed homeless shelter

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KENT, Wash. – In a sign of the troubling economic times, the City of Kent is considering opening a new homeless shelter.

“There are 331 children in the Kent-Meridian School District who are homeless,” said Mike Johnson of the Union Gospel Mission, which is proposing the new shelter. “And we know there are more out there.”

The UGM wants to move into a city-owned building located on the outskirts of downtown at 315 East Meeker Street.  The Mission and its partners would pay $275,000 a year to run the facility. They are asking the city to allow the organization to lease the space for free. It would house about 55 people.

Some Kent businesses worry that the shelter would hurt the city’s efforts to revitalize the historic downtown area.

The need for a shelter in Kent has been swelling for several years, Johnson said.

“Because of the economy, there are more and more homeless families on our streets. They need a place to live. In fact, there are more people living in doorways, bushes and under bridges in Kent than any place in King County other than Seattle.”

Business leaders are invited to an informational forum Wednesday night, 5-7 p.m. at Kent’s ShoWare Center.
 

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