King County Executive Ron Sims hopes to fund two projects next year that could house several hundred homeless people at a cost of close...

Share story

King County Executive Ron Sims hopes to fund two projects next year that could house several hundred homeless people at a cost of close to $7.5 million.

The first of those projects, in conjunction with the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County and the King County Housing Authority, would convert the county’s now-closed Cedar Hills Alcohol Treatment Center into “transformational” housing for women who have been in trouble with the law.

King County would pay for the estimated $4 million renovation of the county facility near Maple Valley so it could house 70 women and 100 to 150 children. The mothers would participate in parenting classes, job training and counseling during their 18- to 24-month stay.

The YWCA, which would operate the facility, tentatively known as YWCA Passage Point, plans to hold community meetings in the coming months. If approved by the King County Council, the new facility could open as early as spring 2007.

Sims outlined the Passage Point proposal yesterday in a report to the County Council on the county’s strategy for implementing the recently drafted Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County.

With more than 8,000 people homeless in the county every night, the plan — written by a broad-based committee — urges local governments, nonprofit agencies and businesses to develop 4,500 housing units and assure that 5,000 others remain affordable to people who have been homeless.

In his response to the Ten-Year Plan, Sims said he is attempting to strike deals under which the county would invest $7 for every $1 that cities put into converting old motels and other buildings into homes for the homeless.

In exchange for the county’s financial support under what is called the Jump Start project, the cities would have to help nonprofit agencies meet zoning requirements for homeless-housing projects. No agreements have been announced, but Community and Human Services Director Jackie MacLean said she hopes the county will be able to fund five such projects at $700,000 each.

“We are starting to move forward with these different ideas and see which are the most feasible as we put together the 2006 budget. It’s possible some will not be in that budget,” said community and human-services spokeswoman Sherry Hamilton.

Sims and Car Toys CEO Dan Brettler, co-chairmen of the Committee to End Homelessness, anchored a news conference yesterday to build support for the Ten-Year Plan.

In 10 years, Brettler said, he hopes residents will be able to say, “King County used to have a homelessness problem. It no longer does, and every man, woman and child” who needs shelter can get it.

Seattle City Councilman Tom Rasmussen said, “We all need to work together to end this tragedy of homelessness, which goes from generation to generation until we do something.”

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or