King County has agreed to pay $50,000 to help reopen homeless shelters, but Catholic Community Services, not SHARE, will handle the money.
The group of homeless people living since March in two makeshift camps in downtown Seattle, including one at the King County Administration Building plaza, will move indoors Monday as the protest ends and dozens of shelters reopen.
The Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, or SHARE, came to an agreement with city and county officials for funding that will reestablish shelter space, closed earlier this year, for around 250 people.
“We are thrilled that, with the bad weather coming, we have been able to come to a successful resolution,” said Adrienne Quinn, director of the county’s Department of Community and Human Services.
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Quinn said the county will contribute $50,000 to Catholic Community Services, which will help SHARE to get the shelters up and running through the end of the year.
When the shelters closed in March, hundreds of homeless people scrambled to find a place to live and set up the confrontation with the county.
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The closures were a result of the organization’s deficit, which began accumulating when King County reduced and then withdrew funding, according to Clint Crowder, who is on SHARE’s board of directors.
Seattle and county officials were surprised by both the closures and the ensuing protests. The nonprofit and its ally organization, WHEEL, have a contract with the city this year totaling several hundreds of thousands of dollars, officials have said.
Many of those displaced from the indoor shelters established the homeless camp on the King County Administration Building’s courtyard. It became known as Tent City 6.
Crowder said the group chose the high-profile location to bring attention to their plight and to encourage county officials to help the group address a cited deficit of $70,000.
“It was challenging for the county to have 240 people living on their porch,” he said, but when negotiations began a couple of weeks ago, “we came together quickly.”
Crowder said there have been allegations of misuse of public money in the past at the organization, but none with credible evidence.
He said SHARE welcomed an offer by Catholic Community Services to be SHARE’s fiscal trustee and to accept and disburse the government funds.
The group will also partner with The Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Low Income Housing Institute. SHARE has also agreed to add case workers for housing to its repertoire of services.
“These will be new things and they will be a huge help in addressing the transparency issues and to help people transition into longterm housing solutions,” Crowder said.
In the fall of 2012, SHARE hosted a similar protest and temporarily closed its shelters after city and county officials declined to provide more bus tickets for residents. SHARE eventually got the bus tickets and reopened its shelters.