The Gateway in Honor of Tenaya Wright
DESC opened our second supportive emergency housing site on June 21, 2022, The Gateway in Honor of Tenaya Wright. King County bought a former hotel in summer 2021, under the Health Through Housing program. It was permanently converted into private and semi-private units of emergency–temporary–housing, which DESC operates under a contract with King County.
Like the Mary Pilgrim Inn, it operates under DESC’s new model, a better alternative to the conventional model of crowded, congregate emergency shelter. Eligible guests will be single, highly vulnerable, disabled adults who are experiencing chronic homelessness.
The Gateway in Honor of Tenaya Wright offers 115 rooms, including 20 set aside for double occupancy. It replaced the remaining beds we temporarily operated in a Renton hotel during the pandemic. It was a priority for both the county and for DESC to retain the bed capacity we had had there since spring 2020.
This is emergency housing offering robust wraparound supportive services for our guests. It is not a walk-up shelter nor does it offer walk-up services. Rooms are available only through referral, for quick access when a person has no housing, where they can be safe and comfortable while they prepare for their next steps.
Referrals come from local homeless service providers, first responders, hospitals and the surrounding community.
The time that a guest may stay in this housing is not limited, but it is not intended to be a permanent home. It offers basic amenities and safe, private, dignified spaces in which people may live temporarily while they search for or wait to be placed in permanent housing.
The facility is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and DESC provides wraparound supportive services. Additionally, residents must abide by DESC’s good neighbor agreement.
In the time since spring 2020 we have learned that hotel rooms work better for our guests than congregate shelter. DESC saw many advantages to private rooms as we operated the Renton hotel shelter during the pandemic. The operation has been on the whole very positive, according to a University of Washington study, “Impact of Hotels as Non-Congregate Emergency Shelters,” described here by UW News, and in Huff Post’s “Put Homeless People in Hotels.”
Our clients staying in the Renton hotel shelter showed us that when people have their own private space with a locking door, a bed and bathroom, they are better able to stabilize and feel like they can take advantage of supportive and recovery services.
Informational meeting was held in December
We held a virtual informational meeting on the then planned supportive emergency housing site at 13300 Stone Ave. N., Seattle, on Dec. 14, 2021, via Zoom.