Update to Eastgate Way and Congregations for the Homeless

Sep 30, 2021 | Beacon, Justice, News

The King County Council has approved the sale of the piece of surplus property on Eastgate Way toner to be used tin response to the homelessness crisis. Bellevue City Council has approved additional funding for Congregations for the Homelessness. The Board of Directors unanimously approved to proceed with purchasing the site in early August .

After nearly a decade of working on finding land, assembling financing, and preparing to build the Eastside’s first and only permanent emergency men’s shelter, we are prepared to purchase the site in early August and move forward executing all agreements to accept the nearly $16 million in public financing that’s been committed.

East Shore’s Congregations for the Homeless Team is looking forward to continued engagement as we work towards our next major milestone: the City’s conditional use permitting process.

by Dean Dubofsky



Eastside Homeless Shelter to Move Forward Following Council Actions

Local leaders are celebrating two major milestones towards meeting affordable housing and shelter needs in East King County, with the King County Council approving the sale of a piece of surplus county property in Bellevue and the Bellevue City Council approving additional funding for the men’s homeless shelter and permanent supportive housing that will be sited there.

The property, owned by King County’s Solid Waste Division and located on Eastgate Way in Bellevue, will be transformed into a campus that will include a permanent men’s homeless shelter, permanent supportive housing, and workforce housing. Led by King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, who represents the neighborhood where the property is located and has been a longtime champion of the project, the King County Council unanimously approved the purchase and sale agreement for $18,885,000 on July 13th.

“When I was the mayor of Bellevue, I made a commitment with fellow mayors from Redmond and Kirkland to work together to provide a full suite of emergency shelter services for people experiencing homelessness on the Eastside,” said Council Chair Balducci. “After years of work with public and private partners and the community, we are finally making good on that commitment. This property sale will enable the first and only permanent men’s shelter on the Eastside, and it will go further, with the first permanent supportive housing constructed on the Eastside and affordable homes for hundreds of families. This project has become more than I could have dreamed thanks to the tenacity and dedication of Congregations for the Homeless and their partners, with critical support from local government.”

On July 19th, the Bellevue City Council approved $3.6 million for the shelter project and $400,000 for the permanent supportive housing project. This funding provides the final pieces of financing which leverages the funds already committed from the Department of Commerce, King County, and other Eastside cities, along with more than $130 million in private investments and loans, all of which allows for closing on the sale of the property and construction to begin.

“Finalizing the property sale and funding are major steps forward in making the Eastgate shelter and supportive housing campus a reality,” said Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson. “I want to thank King County for its partnership in this process. The physical buildings combined with supportive services are key to Bellevue’s success in addressing homelessness. The new permanent shelter is just one key piece of our ongoing work to support our community.”

The project was instigated by Congregations for the Homeless, a Bellevue nonprofit that has been serving men on the Eastside experiencing homelessness for nearly three decades, who will operate the shelter. Plymouth Housing, a non-profit developer and operator of supportive housing for homeless individuals, will operate the permanent supportive housing and Inland Group, a Spokane-based developer of affordable housing will build the workforce housing. The purchase and project are also being facilitated by Horizon Housing Alliance, a non-profit developer of affordable housing.

Congregations for the Homeless Executive Director David Bowling said “This campus has surpassed our initial expectations by becoming a cornerstone for ensuring affordable homes and safe shelter exists within our community. All the public and private parties came together toward a common vision, setting the stage for providing coordinated, efficient and effective housing and services.”

“The Eastgate Project is a major advancement to address homelessness and housing affordability in east King County,” said Paul Lambros, CEO of Plymouth Housing. “As one of the project partners, Plymouth Housing is grateful to the King County Council for its unanimous vote in support of the project as well as Bellevue City Council for approving critical funding to begin work on the project. The Eastgate Project is a true partnership between local, county, and state governments, the private sector, and nonprofit providers coming together to address homelessness and housing issues in our communities. The project will enable Plymouth to provide permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals on the Eastside for decades to come.”

“The Eastgate campus will be a shining example of what we can accomplish when the private, nonprofit and public sectors do what they each do best,” said Darin Davidson, President of Inland Group. “It takes all of us working together to effectively and efficiently deliver the housing and services the region needs. I want to thank Councilmember Balducci, Executive Constantine, the City of Bellevue, and funders for their leadership.”

Construction of the three projects is expected to be completed in 2023 at a combined cost of about $186 million. The campus will include:

  • A 100-bed men’s enhanced shelter and services center (Congregations for the Homeless)
  • 92 permanent supportive homes for homeless individuals being referred from Eastside shelters (Plymouth Housing)
  • 360 homes for low-income wage earners. This part of the campus will also include a 10,000 square foot early learning center (Inland Group)

The approval of the sale of the property by the King County Council and the funding by the Bellevue City Council marks the culmination of over eight years of collaboration among non-profit groups and local and state governmental leaders to expand East King County services and permanent housing options for people experiencing homelessness, as well as preventing homelessness for individuals and families by expanding affordable housing options. Congregations for the Homeless has been engaged in community engagement, site selection, and planning since 2014. The four organizations together have spent more than 18 months on design and engineering work, fundraising, and City of Bellevue permitting processes.