Bellevue's first permanent homeless shelter could open by 2019

Bellevue could be getting its first permanent shelter as soon as 2019.

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- As the need for helping the Eastside's homeless population grows, those tasked with providing that assistance hope to end a form of their own homelessness.

Congregations for the Homeless has operated seasonal men's shelters for years in a variety of different locations.  Next month, it plans to open a facility that can hold up to 100 people in a converted office building.

"We've got our work cut out for us," explained Executive Director David Bowling. "This will be the largest space we've ever had.  We'll be able to serve more people."

But it is only another temporary home.  However, a permanent shelter and social service building is being planned and could open by 2019.

Congregations for the Homeless, working with a variety of partners including King County and the city of Bellevue, hope to build the city's first permanent shelter on SE Eastgate Way next to the Park-and-Ride and a public health building.

A public process is currently underway on the proposal, with another meeting scheduled for Thursday night.

The new shelter would open in 2019 and cost roughly $23 million, though those numbers could change. 

The project has also drawn criticism for a variety of reasons, including location.

"It's not a long distance from housing," said Steve Roberts with CFH, "It's further than anything we've found."

Roberts added that other sites were investigated, but the proximity to health and transit make this site more appealing.

Copyright 2016 KING


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