King County releases $3 million to help find shelter for the homeless

Tukwila to get $2 million, Burien $1 million; no other South County cities applied for funds

King County will release $3 million in funding to support an increase in shelter capacity and serve people experiencing homelessness in South King County cities.

The city of Tukwila will receive $2 million and the city of Burien $1 million, according to an April 18 news release from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The cities of Tukwila and Burien were the only two applicants following the announcement of a $5 million funding opportunity in December 2023 to support South King County with local response efforts for people experiencing homelessness, such as additional safe emergency shelter as they work to find stable, long-term housing, according to the news release.

The county on April 17 announced the investment of $2 million from this grant funding to support nonprofits in their work to provide urgent housing and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in Tukwila.

“Everyone deserves the safety and security of a roof over their head,” Constantine said. “We’re working with cities across King County to help address the regional challenge of homelessness by expanding shelter, housing and support services for our unhoused neighbors.”

The $2 million grant for Tukwila will be used to fund a new shelter project to support unhoused individuals and families.

“Homelessness continues to be a major regional issue and smaller communities, like Tukwila, see the impacts of it every day,” said Tukwila Mayor Tom McLeod. “We want to thank King County for awarding us the $2 million grant. Our goal is to put these dollars to good use quickly and help our community’s most vulnerable.”

The $1 million grant for Burien will be used to help fund a new emergency shelter that will add 50 additional beds for families with children.

“We look forward to this development to increase safe and supportive shelter in Burien for families experiencing homelessness,” said Burien City Manager Adolfo Bailon. These funds move us closer to that vision.”

Dominique Alex, Mary’s Place chief executive officer, said the funds will come in handy with the expansion of Mary’s Place family shelter in Burien.

“We are so grateful to King County and our partners at the City of Burien for this critical funding to help us expand shelter capacity and housing for the growing number of families with children experiencing homelessness,” Alex said. “The shelter project will serve 200-plus family members and will be co-located with 90 units of permanently affordable housing being developed by Mercy Housing Northwest to provide an innovative and more integrated solution to family homelessness.”

King County is currently beginning the contracting process with the cities and funding will cover costs incurred from the contract start date through Dec. 31, 2025.

Fund for refugees, asylum seekers

On April 17, King County announced $2 million in funding to support four nonprofits in their work to provide temporary housing, food, support, and legal services to asylum seekers and refugees in Tukwila, many who have arrived over the past several months at Riverton United Methodist Church.

Given the urgency to support these asylees and refugees, King County increased its original grant funding opportunity from $1 million to $2 million utilizing part of the larger $5 million funding opportunity for cities in south King County to assist in local homelessness response efforts, announced in December 2023.

These investments are part of broader countywide efforts to provide additional safe emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness as they work to find stable, long-term housing.

“We appreciate that the state will begin to implement its long-term solutions this summer to support these asylees and refugees in Tukwila and across Washington,” Constantine said. “With this $2 million in local funding King County continues to step up to provide urgent assistance in the near term. Working with these community-based organizations will help bring some stability to those in need right now.”

The four nonprofits receiving funding are:

• Coalicion - Dignidad Migrante (in partnership with Cooperativa Sanarte, fiscal sponsor) will receive $250,000 to support case management and wrap-around support services.

• Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, based in Seattle, will receive $250,000 to expand its work of providing asylum-seeking individuals and families with legal services to navigate work authorizations, notices of appeal, temporary protected status, asylum applications, and motions to change venue/change address.

• Lutheran Community Services Northwest, based in SeaTac, will receive $750,000 to provide housing and case management services to asylum-seeking families and individuals.

• Refugee Women’s Alliance, based in Seattle, will receive $750,000 to provide housing and case management services to asylum-seeking families and individuals, in partnership with Low Income Housing Institute.

“Lutheran Community Services NW is committed to supporting asylum-seekers and promoting community inclusivity,” said Najib Nazhat, district director for Lutheran Community Services NW. “While we know the path forward will not be easy for refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities, our team is prepared to offer comprehensive assistance, including housing navigation, in-kind support, and personalized case management.”

This new funding is the latest investment that King County has made since late 2023 to support the city of Tukwila and the Riverton Park United Methodist Church in their work to support those arriving and seeking asylum.