Mike O'Brien visited the December meeting of the Ballard District Council to inform the public about his Safe Parking Pilot Program to serve the Ballard's vehicular residents.
2012 to bring improvements for the homeless in Ballard
The coming year will bring new developments and services to accommodate the homeless in Ballard.
The December meeting of the Ballard District Council surrounded the theme of homelessness and the city and non-profits announced various projects to start this coming year.
After delayed constructions, Compass Housing Alliance is ready to start building its Nyer Urness housing project in February. Slated for opening in March 2013, the seven-story, 80-unit housing development on 1753 NW 56th St will serve homeless people throughout the city.
While the housing development will certainly serve some of Ballard's homeless population, "it won't necessarily decrease the number of homeless people you see in Ballard," said Beth Boram from Compass Housing Alliance.
The Nyer Urness House will also offer a neighborhood clinic to be open 20 hours a week.
Sharon Lee, Executive Director at Low Income Housing Institute announced that construction for LIHI's low-income apartment complex at 2014 N.W. 57th St. will start at the end of 2012.
The apartment complex will provide 50 units for seniors 62 and up, who will only have to pay 30 percent of their income or pension.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded LIHI $7.6 million for the project.
"We're doing extensive outreach in Ballard to get referrals. The housing is available at a first come, first serve basis and there will be a waitlist," said Lee.
LIHI has set aside a portion of the building for an Urban Rest Stop on the ground floor. The Urban Rest Stop will provide a hygiene center, laundry, and restroom for the homeless.
"We have experience with mixed-use buildings that have a hygiene center on the ground floor and housing above," said Lee. "We're committed to keeping the senior housing safe and to keep the hygiene center fully staffed and clean."
While some people think Ballard already has a great amount of social services for those in need, social service providers state the opposite.
"As a social service agency, I actually think we have a lack of number of services," said Nancy McKinney from the Ballard Food Bank. www.ballardfoodbank.org
"I hear from nearly all neighborhoods that there is a bigger demand for services than there is supply," added Councilmember Mike O'Brien who attended the December Ballard District Council meeting to answer questions regarding his Safe Parking Pilot Program.
O'Brien's Ballard Safe Parking Pilot Program will be one of the projects to make a significant difference for the homeless in Ballard.
The program, introduced by O'Brien last October, received city funding in November and will provide Ballard's vehicular residents with a safe place to park their cars as well as access to basic facilities at local churches.
Our Redeemers Lutheran Church at 24th and NW 85th agreed to host the first camp and more camps are to come soon.
The churches are offering space on their lots and access to their toilets for three to five vehicles, on the condition that the people living in their cars are actively trying to get out of homelessness and into housing.
O'Brien said that while a preference tends to be given to families and children, each church decides who they open their parking lots to.
To keep the parking program from being a burden to the neighbor streets and residents, O'Brien said there will be strict enforcement to prevent people from parking their vehicles outside the parking lot and use the program's services.
"Part of the program is to make sure these churches don't become magnets," O'Brien said. "We're trying to keep this a dispersed problem not one big encampment. Parking enforcement has been very supportive about this program."
Attend an informative meeting at the Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church (2400 NW 85th St) tonight, January 5, at 7 p.m. for more information regarding the Safe Parking Pilot Program.