Two temporary winter and spring homeless shelters will stay open for the summer. The facilities run by the City of Seattle were scheduled to close on June 15.
The announcement came after news of the closure of Nickelsville. Approximately 100 residents are scheduled to be evicted from the homeless encampment in West Seattle by September 1. The city has pledged $500,000 to help relocate campers into shelters or other housing and offer them social services.
News of the extended shelter operations has been met with mixed reactions. Some homeless advocates applauded the decision.
We need to get the homeless stable and housed as soon as possible, said Rev. Rick Reynolds with Operation Nightwatch. It's not going to happen quickly so these temporary shelters are a way for people to get on the road to wholeness.
But Tracy Arant with Women in Black, a group that holds demonstrations in honor of those who have died on the streets, is skeptical.
I don't want the city to use the money to keep the shelters open and use that to justify closing Nickelsville, said Arant. There's a need to keep 224 shelter beds open, but then you throw 100 people out on the street, you've negated what you've done.
A spokesman for the city said the mayor had been considering leaving the shelters open before Monday's development with Nickelsville. The shelters normally operate between October and April. A 75-bed facility for men in City Hall will remain open for the summer along with a 40 bed operation at the Angeline Center for Homeless Women.