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Modular homes for the homeless arrive in Seattle

The modular homes are part of a larger effort to expand shelter beds as the city and King County work toward more permanent solutions to the homeless crisis.

The first of 20 modular homes that will be used as temporary housing in King County arrived in Seattle recently. 

The modular units, which were hauled from Texas in January, are being cleaned up before 48 people move into them. 

According to King County Executive Dow Constantine, it's an "Opportunity to provide warm, safe dignified housing to folks as they receive the services they need to really get back to self-sufficiency."

Service providers will be on site. That will include case management, housing navigation, connections to community services, and more. 

"Several more units" will be added in the future. 

The modular units are part of the SODO Bridge Housing Project at Sixth Avenue South and South Atlantic Street. The project, according to the county, showcases modular construction as an alternative to traditional building. The units are expected to open in March. 

The modular units are a piece of a larger package of emergency housing strategies announced in October. That included a 100-bed shelter at Harborview Hall that opened Dec. 21 and was at approximately 80 percent capacity by mid-January; the Jefferson Day Center at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street that is expected to serve 100 single adults; and turning the first floor of the King County Correctional Facility West Wing into a 24-hour enhanced shelter

The expansion of shelter beds follows an audit that found a dire need for additional beds and services, and a consultant report commissioned by the county, City of Seattle, All Home, and other partners. 

Last year, a point-in-time count found a total of 12,112 people experiencing homelessness. Of those, 6,320 people were considered unsheltered. That was a 4 percent increase from the year before. 

In January, the 2019 point-in-time count was conducted by more than 1,000 volunteers. The findings of that will be released in May. 

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