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24/7 homeless shelter with room for partners and friends coming to First Hill

Compass Housing Alliance’s new shelter will include storage and welcome pets

Joe Mabel

Earlier this week, Compass Housing Alliance announced plans for a 100-bed shelter in First Hill’s First Presbyterian Church on Eighth Avenue.

The shelter, which Compass is calling Compass at First Presbyterian, is funded with a $1.3 million grant from the city.

It will be open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, “rather than have people line up outside at night and return them to the streets early in the morning,” said Compass in a release.

The shelter’s model seeks to eliminate many barriers to getting assistance: Support and services will be available throughout the day and in the evening. The facility will welcome companions sticking together, as well as people with pets, and provide storage for possessions.

Compass said this will make the shelter more available to people currently living in tents or encampments.

A city survey found that wanting to stay with your people is a common barrier to the shelter system. 24 percent of people who responded to the city’s needs assessment said they weren’t in a shelter because they wanted to stay with their partner; 13.3 percent cited wanting to stay with friends. 20 percent said they weren’t in a shelter because they couldn’t bring a pet.

Having a shelter open around the clock also reduces barriers. Shelter curfews or restrictive hours can be hard to balance with a job or other obligations.

Belongings are also a frequent source of stress for those who are unsheltered. Possessions are at the crux of an ACLU lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the Washington State Department of Transportation over homeless encampment sweeps.

“We’ve had great success with this holistic approach in the four other shelters we operate as well as across our housing programs,” said Compass.

A spokesperson for City of Seattle Human Services spokesperson told KING 5 they estimate the new shelter would serve about 300 to 400 people per year.