Homeless women fight to keep temporary shelter open

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by ADAM MERTZ / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 13 at 6:00 PM

SEATTLE - There is now a last-minute push to keep a women’s emergency winter shelter open through the summer. The Women’s Housing, Equality, and Enhancement League, or WHEEL, is working to come up with $100,000 in funding to run the homeless shelter for the next five months.

"I was sleeping up under a bridge before I went into this shelter here," said Nancy Mohler.

Since October, Mohler has stayed at the winter shelter at Plymouth Church in downtown Seattle. The shelter was scheduled to close April 1st, but was extended until April 18th.  A WHEEL spokesperson said the winter shelter has been open for 14 years and it has never been this crowded.

"In the past we have averaged 30-40 women a night, we are actually double that this year. We average between 50-60," said WHEEL employee Mary Castillo.

WHEEL has secured a new location for the summer shelter and an agency to help run it. The group has reached out to the city, county, and a non-profit organization to help fill the funding gap, according to a WHEEL spokesperson.

With less than a week left, Mohler is hoping WHEEL can secure the funding needed to operate the shelter. She said it can be dangerous on the streets.

"It's rough. You've got harassment, you've got stalking, you've got a lot of things going on that street for a woman," said Mohler.

Mohler added that there are other shelters for women, but those are also filled to capacity.

If the shelter is unable to stay open for the summer, it will re-open in the fall when the temperatures drop.

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