Federal Way coalition seeking funds for homeless day shelter

A group is seeking donations to open Federal Way’s first day shelter for the homeless by early 2016.

  • Friday, September 25, 2015 6:25pm
  • News
Federal Day Shelter Coalition members and friends meet to put together brown lunch sack packets for a 'non-event' fundraiser called 'Bags of Hope.'

Federal Day Shelter Coalition members and friends meet to put together brown lunch sack packets for a 'non-event' fundraiser called 'Bags of Hope.'

A group is seeking donations to open Federal Way’s first day shelter for the homeless by early 2016.

With plans to ask the City Council for $50,000 this year and another $50,000 for 2016, the Federal Way Day Shelter Coalition also needs $55,000 to retrofit a proposed 2,000-square-foot space near the Multi-Service Center. To help close the monetary gap, the coalition is launching a fundraising campaign called “Bags of Hope.”

“We’ve given presentations on this project in the last several months,” said coalition member Jackie Blair. “We’ve given them to about 20 faith organizations and service organizations.”

Working on a goal of raising $30,000 for retrofitting costs, the coalition will make 10,000 bags for the Bags of Hope campaign.

Each bag includes an invitation to a non-event called the “Day Shelter Gala,” where donators “do not have to eat one more rubber chicken dinner” but can instead choose to give from the comfort of home.

Retrofitting will include a new bathroom with an additional shower, a laundry facility, kitchen and open-floor concept for Catholic Community Services to monitor.

Blair said Catholic Community Services has agreed to sign a lease and operate the shelter if funding is available, however, she did confirm the shelter is not yet secured — that would come from the city.

The coalition presented a business plan to Brian Wilson, the city’s chief of staff, in early September and has since presented “Workforce in Transition” to the Human Services Commission on Monday and the Finance, Economic Development and Regional Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Both approved the business plan and request for funding. With plans to present once more to the Parks, Recreation, Human Services and Public Safety Council Committee on Oct. 13, the coalition will meet with the City Council on Oct. 20 – the final step.

The coalition has also been filling out grant applications for $100,000 in state planning funds but Blair doesn’t expect that money until next year.

If the city allocates the funding, the coalition hopes to secure the location by November, with remodeling soon after so that the facility is open by early 2016 – just in time for harsh winter weather.

“[The kitchen] will have maybe a couple of microwaves, a refrigerator/freezer, stove, something where people can get warm food or maybe even warm up their own food that they bring in,” she said, adding that last year’s One Night Count discovered 105 homeless people in Federal Way, with 37 more in other shelters and 40-50 more estimated by the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Robin LaMoria, with St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Federal Way, said it’s too common to see people holding up signs on the sidewalk, asking for help.

“It’s fair to say they’re using the public library as their day shelter now,” LaMoria said.

The shelter will serve these people, men and women over age 18, by allowing them to get clean and maintain hygiene. There will be no background checks and it will initially be open five days a week, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This is not a permanent place to live,” Blair said. “It’s just a place for them to come get better and move on.”

Because they day shelter will be near the Multi-Service Center and other organizations, there will be plenty of resources as well.

The three-year pilot program will give the coalition enough data needed for a potential day shelter campus that will have more services and referrals. The campus could include Valley Cities, HealthPoint and the Department of Health.

The coalition was formed in August 2013 after a grassroots group of people in Federal Way were searching for solutions to provide homeless with day shelter services.

With the organizing support of Sound Alliance, it grew “from concerned parishioners from St. Vincent de Paul church” to many other concerned community members including those from the Church of the Good Shepherd, Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church, Catholic Community Services, Multi-Service Center, City Vision, Valley Cities, HealthPoint, King County Public Health, Federal Way Community Caregiving Network and virtually all of the city’s service organizations.

If the council approves the funding, the coalition will hold an assembly the last week of October at St. Vincent de Paul to celebrate.

For more information about the coalition and its efforts to bring a day shelter to Federal Way, visit fwdayshelter.wix.com/fwdayshelter.

 


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