Editor's note: The above video originally aired February 2, 2022.
KIRKLAND, Wash. - After assessing the property for more than a month, King County moved forward Thursday and purchased La Quinta Inn & Suites in Kirkland for its Health Through Housing program.
It will be the 10th property purchased for the program, which aims to rapidly develop permanent supportive housing for homeless residents by buying apartment buildings and hotels.
The hotel, which is the second Health Through Housing purchase on the county’s eastside, will provide at least 121 units of housing, bringing the program's total to nearly 1,000 units.
“Expanding our network and partnering with communities, we are building a regional solution to chronic homelessness, and opening doors to a home for hundreds of people in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a Thursday statement.
In early February, Kirkland City Manager Kirk Triplett posted to the city’s Facebook page to voice support for opening the hotel to the homeless after residents began asking questions about the project.
Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet said in a statement Thursday, “The conversion of this hotel into permanent supportive housing continues Kirkland’s commitment to being a safe, inclusive and welcoming community where everyone belongs and will save lives. We look forward to continued collaboration with the County, Executive Constantine, and the community to ensure this site is a safe, successful part of the solution that addresses the growing homelessness humanitarian crisis in our region.”
The county and city will partner to schedule public meetings this spring to give community members a chance to give input. One concern from residents in the past was that the property, located at 10530 Northup Way, is adjacent to Eastside Preparatory School. Others said they believed the project would lead to more police activity.
The county said it plans to improve the building and work with the city and community to establish a “Good Neighbor Agreement.”
As for its future residents, the hotel will offer 24/7 onsite staffing that will provide them with case management as well as services for both behavioral and physical health.
The county anticipates the hotel will welcome its first residents in 2023 following a competitive process to find the onsite service provider.