Councilmember Morales’ Statement on the Halted Expansion of the SODO Homelessness Shelter

SEATTLE – Councilmember Tammy Morales (District 2, South Seattle and the Chinatown / International District) issued the following statement after King County Executive Dow Constantine announced today that the County will not be moving forward with the expansion of the SODO Enhanced Shelter. The current site will continue to operate the 270-bed shelter, and the remainder of the site will be used for non-homelessness related County business: 

“As the City Council representative for the CID and SODO, I receive this news with pensiveness. The CID neighborhood has a high concentration of low-income immigrant elders who have experienced many government harms both historically and ongoing. The rollout of information around the proposed shelter expansion perpetuated the trauma that the CID community has experienced. In my discussions with community members, they have expressed frustration with a lack of transparency with government planning processes in the neighborhood. This lack of transparency allowed for bad-faith political actors without ties to the CID, such as a conservative think tank, to co-opt the narrative and cloud organic neighborhood resistance.  

The decision to increase social services in an already vulnerable and under-supported neighborhood should not have been made without community input and a proper mitigation strategy in place. There remains a need for more sanitation services, mental and behavioral health services, and shelter that meets the needs of all who are unhoused on our streets.  While this expansion has halted, there remains an immense need for the types of services that have been proposed by the County. I will continue to be in conversation with Mayor Harrell’s office, the County, and the CID community around how we can improve neighborhood conditions.  

At the same time, the Seattle City Council has just spent the day discussing the Mayor’s proposed budget to address homelessness. It must be unequivocally stated that we have been in a state of emergency around homelessness for 7 years in this city and county. Each night, thousands of people sleep on the streets and every year too many people are dying. We need to act with the urgency this crisis deserves so that we can best serve all our neighbors moving forward, both housed and unhoused.” 

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