Compass housing to be Urness House

Compass Housing Alliance (formerly Compass Center) has released details on their new low-income housing development at 1753 NW 56th St., which will be called Urness House.

The 80-unit mixed-use building will house chronically homeless men and women. There will be a screening process for those who wish to live there. All residents must pass the tax credit eligibility criteria and be able to live on their own. A person who has been convicted of arson within the last ten years or is a level 3 sex offender will not be allowed into Urness House, according to a release sent by Compass Housing Alliance. “An application will be forwarded for review in the event that the record indicates a conviction of a crime that requires registration as a sex offender, other serious crimes, or a continued pattern of criminal convictions which indicate that the applicant for residency poses a risk to the safety of tenants, staff or neighbors,” the release explains.

The first two floors of the facility will be support services for residents and non-residents. Social workers, addiction counselors, mental health professionals, healthcare providers and employment specialists will work out of these offices. These human services will not be provided by Compass Housing Authority, but by outside organizations.

“The goal of Urness House is to promote the health and housing success of the 80 residents,” states the release, “To achieve this goal, supportive services will be offered on site and Urness House will be staffed 24 hours per day. Our experience with similar projects is that the provision of confidential, on-site support services is’ important for this population’s transition from homelessness to independent and healthier living.”

Compass is proposing 11 parking spots, which in their experience, should be adequate for the human service providers. Car ownership by residents, according to the release, is extremely rare. There are several transit options in the immediate vicinity.

Compass owns a half-dozen permanent housing facilities in King County for people trying to get back on their feet. “Maintaining positive relationships with our neighbors is important for Compass generally and for Urness House,” states the release. To do this, Compass offers to create a community advisory board for Urness House. This board will give neighbors a place to offer suggestions and voice concerns. “The management of Compass and the Urness House staff are committed to being good neighbors to Ballard,” the release states.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

69 thoughts to “Compass housing to be Urness House

  1. Sweet, so we’ll just have a dorm of level 1 and 2 sex offenders living in prime real in the middle of our community. I’m sure those numbers will make people with families rush to Ballard.

  2. Are they still planning on using Evergreen Treatment Services as one of the outside organizations? They are primarily an opioid treatment service (methadone clinic.) Most of their clinics draw people from all over the city, they won’t necessarily just be serving Ballard residents.

  3. I believe it originally was to be a women’s housing facility but, due to restrictions by one of the funders, they cannot discriminate and must accept both men and women.

  4. “…Compass offers to create a community advisory board for Urness House. This board will give neighbors a place to offer suggestions and voice concerns.”

  5. I was thinking the one thing Ballard reallys needs is a methadone clinic open to drug addicts from all over Seattle. Seriously, this will be splendid. What could go wrong.

  6. A needle exchange is something I would actually support. There is already one in the U Dist and one downtown where it wouldn’t really draw many people from out of the neighborhood. Junkies usually hang on to their dirties if they can easily exchange them, as opposed to dropping them on the ground. You can buy a pack of clean rigs at bartell’s for $5 bucks. A needle exchange would greatly reduce the amount of dirties found in the streets around Ballard.

  7. Methadone clinic, needle exchange, bum-motel with sex offenders. Ballard’s going to be paradise with you in charge Jizzball.

    Just have your check book ready to compensate Pokerguy for destroying the value of his home.

  8. I don’t support any of it. The more welcome we make these people feel the more of them are going to come out of the woodwork expecting hand outs. Why work for something when you can get it for free and spend your days getting wasted on High Gravity outside the Bali Mart.

  9. I think maybe I need a career change, doing drugs all day and living at the Compass Center sounds like a plan. Why pay when you can live and party for FREE! YEEE HAW.

  10. Most people probably don’t realize that a level one sex offender isn’t necessarily an awful thing. I know many people (including myself) that have been convicted of statutory rape and have been required to register. This usually happened in college and there wasn’t any more than a 2 year difference in age!

  11. And further more, do they plan on letting homosexuals live there? Thats the last thing we need, drug addicted gays living near our kids!

  12. Housing programs like this one have proven to be very successful. That Ballard is finally “hosting” a program like this is long overdue. Like the rest of the city, many of our fellow residents have disabilities — including substance abuse, mental illness and physical disabilities — that have pushed them to the margins of our society. This program will get them back on their feet, and give them a place to call home — and if you’re like me, you believe that housing is a human right. If you truly are so intolerant that you can’t fathom living near people who have fallen so far that they don’t have a place to live, and are considering moving now — what took you so long? They’ve been living among you on the streets for decades.

  13. More of the haters coming out of the wood-work…
    Pity help you if you suddenly get injured,say an:”Kalifornikator”or “One-Percenter”hits you and busts some bones in the x-walk due to ignoreing the stop on red rule,for instance…
    You are not able to use hypnotic pain blocking,so Dr.Feel-Better(C)puts you on marginal doses of Opioids…
    Soon,your big-bro.medical system cuts your dose,it’s back to the streets and black-market Oxycodone(Tm)..
    Then,you get an bust for doctor-shopping,soon you’re in the special houseing for ex-junkies with X#of veterans.
    Shoe on the other foot..
    So,how does it feel,to be one of (Ahem!)THOSE PEOPLE you are warning us about,to-day…
    “Better take care of Busniess,Mr.Business-man”..Ray Stevens.
    user,a la “Citizen H.R.Hughes”…
    PS:Saw an group of 1%-ers on Sat.Afternoon,6 in traffic on Mkt,going W…
    3)He**s ANGELS

  14. It would be fine and dandy and rather utopian to give 80 disabled-addicted-low IQ-petty criminal-date rapers and drunked dufusses a nice little place of their own, with hot running water, free TV 24/7/365, a guranteed hot meal three times a day, a warm bed to snuggle in each night, checkers in the game room, hot cofffe and a caring counseler to listen, free healthcare, rich vocational guidance, free bus passes and likely lots of free clothing, furniture and appliances at their disposal…IF ONLY the Compass residents did not have friends. It is the hangers-on, those homeless groupies, drug seekers and drug sellers, and wanna-be Compass inductees that will be slinkin’ around the dark edges, hoping for an invite upstairs from an old cell mate or gutter drinkin’ buddy that scares me. The whole thing wreaks, if you ask me. I’ll be keeping my family (and my dollars) as far away from that part of Ballard as possible.

  15. “It is the hangers-on, those homeless groupies, drug seekers and drug sellers, and wanna-be Compass inductees that will be slinkin’ around the dark edges”


    Plus an open door methadone clinic? This is going to be great for the neighborhood.

  16. COMPASS CENTER, presently headquartered in Pioneer Square, has
    applied for a permit to build a HOMELESS CENTER in the heart of Ballard
    BALLARD at 1753 NW 56th STREET (PROJECT NO. 3010420).
    • This facility is NOT targeted at housing BALLARD’S present
    HOMELESS population – but, instead those being relocated from
    • There will be 80 ROOMS – at an avg. of only 280sf each. It is not
    clear if more than one person per room will be allowed.
    ROOM with seating for 50 will be included. It is not clear if the
    dining area will be limited to residents of the facility only.
    PERSONNEL will also be included. Again, it is not clear if services
    will be for residents only.
    • The facility will be OPEN 24/7
    • COMPASS CENTER will NOT be responsible for SECURITY on
    the surrounding streets and properties.
    • Residents will include those with a history of DRUG and
    residency based upon those facts alone.
    • The building will be 7 STORIES HIGH and extend PROPERTY
    LINE to PROPERTY LINE with little or no modulation in the
    • NO PARKING is being provided for the residents. Only 11 parking
    spaces are being provided for staff and visitors.
    • ACCESS to the parking and trash dumpsters will be through the
    NARROW ALLEY behind the property which is presently prone to
    mischievous behavior.

  17. “The building will be 7 STORIES HIGH and extend PROPERTY LINE to PROPERTY LINE with little or no modulation in the facades.”

    Build a condo like this and the bleeding hearts would have a fit.

  18. I think a lot of questions need answered. I was told by Compass they chose this sight because Ballard is a Welcoming area. I interpret that Ballard won’t care enough to get the whole truth and we will build and then it will be too late.
    Out of curiosity who would like a public hearing on this project?
    Sounds more like an institution not low income housing.

  19. There have been hearings and there will be more. You can even call & talk to the folks at Compass about the project. They are very open about it.

    This whole ‘methadone clinic’ is sheer speculation on the part of posters to this blog. In all my conversations & readings on the project I’ve found nothing to indicate there would be those kind of services. The Compass folks are very sensitive to their neighbors. If they did hope to have a ‘methadone clinic’ and we strenuously objected they wouldn’t do it.

    Lastly, my feeling is that to have this facility on this site will reduce the problem activity we currently have in that alley. I live next door to the property.

    Be brave & courageous trolls! Use your real name! Or do you fear exposure for being who you are??

  20. This will adversely affect the safety and character of the neighborhood. There needs to be significant opportunities for public debate.

    If this is designed to ‘transfer’ a homeless population from downtown to Ballard I don’t see the sense in it. These residences are hardly self-contained, though they try to sell it that way. Are there enough services in Ballard to support a population like this?

    The homeless issue is an ongoing on at current. This is a major bomb to drop on an area not known for a surplus of homeless services at present.

  21. Wake up, clueless Ballard residents. Your neighborhood has been designated as the city’s dumping ground for scumbags. Other neighborhoods would never stand for this – in fact, other neighborhoods have pushed these sleazebags out – and the city is now dumping them here. You don’t like it? Do what other neighborhoods have done: make it very unpleasant and very uncomfortable here for these low-lifes, and give anyone hell who floats the idea of bringing still more of these bums here. Until that happens, Ballard will only keep attracting these parasites in greater and greater numbers. The more “services” that are provided, the more these sleazebags will come. The only way to stop it is to push them out let them find some neighborhood with even MORE naive suckers who think they are going to solve the world’s problems by giving handouts to lazy creeps.

  22. lorn sounds like a troll to me. short for forlorn maybe?

    it will be interesting to see how long retail will last and how much the restaurants will put up with feeding the *poor*

  23. While the methadone clinic may just be speculation, it is backed up by some facts. It is a fact that the Compass Center is contracting with Evergreen Treatment Services. It is also a fact that Evergreen is a opioid treatment service. While they may not plan on dosing at this particular site, it is their primary business and something we should look out for.

    Google evergreen and check out their web page. It will become clear that a methadone clinic is a possibility.

  24. Lorn is not a troll & it’s not short for anything. It’s my name.

    Perhaps y’all should talk to the folks at Compass about the project. As I have. The facility will be for permanent housing for those who have successfully participated in their programs. Meaning folk who are likely to stay on the path of recovery. The Compass folk are very successful in this endeavor and skilled at helping those who really want help. Yet still supporting those who have yet to make a commitment to recovery.

    The facility will turn the homeless into folk with a home to go too if that’s what they want. If it’s not what they want they won’t be at this facility.

    I do make trouble for the street folk who have no interest in recovery. They’ve learned to avoid me and my house. Again, right next door to the property in question.

    I fully support the Compass Center and this facility despite the fact that I will have to live with a years worth of construction noise & dirt literally right outside my window.

  25. Lorn, thanks for your posts! Let’s remember what was there before: a crackhouse that was a neighborhood crime and danger zone. Now Compass is coming in with a supportive program that will provide on-site personnel and give help to people who have already shown they’re ready to improve their lives. Sounds like a plus to me.

  26. You’re right, going from a crack house to a bum-motel is an improvement but not much. It’s not like Ballard has a shortage of transients, now they’re gonna bus 60 more in?

    I bet all the local businesses are excited; it’s gonna be tough getting a table at Bastille on Saturday night.

  27. When is enough enough?

    Is there no limit to how many vagrants Ballard will be expected to absorb from other places? Why is it Ballard’s responsibility to take dozens and dozens more, when we have a very high concentration of undesirables already, and other neighborhoods don’t take any?

    I ask this question in all sincerity to the bumvocates who are turning the neighborhood into a cesspool.

    Is there anyone who honestly believes that Ballard does not already have a disproportionate number of low-lifes ruining what was once a nice place to live? Does anyone honestly believe that other neighborhoods are taking their fair share of these vagrants? Why sacrifice this neighborhood completely when others get away with none of this crap?

  28. As toddler mom I walk/stroller Ballard a lot. In the P-Patch we have a regualr group who hang out drinking & arguing. On all areas where there are no parking restrictions we have numerous tcampers/vans/trucks where various sketchy persons dwell. In summer Gilman park is a day home to parts of this same crowd who drink & camp out near the now defunct wading pool. My point is that we already HAVE a large homeless/sketchy population due to our residential & commercial zoning. Let’s not be so afraid & pretend that by having a formal facility that we are cultivating a bad element. The whole footing the bill thing for folks who’ve made bad choices does get me though yet I would not deny those who’s story justifies the humanity of givng them a home.

  29. A major point that everyone is forgetting about, and that is, what about the poor vagrant transient who rushed to get his turn into this Hobo motel. They will all be waiting in the alley and conversing with their buds through the windows. The article in Ballard News Tribune stated that Compass disclosed that they will allow 2 visitors for each tenant! Food will be cooked! Ventilation will blow out into the alley! The 10 pm rush to get in is ON, or let’s wait until 700am when the doors open for breakfast! What a MAGNET this will be!

  30. How do we stop this? Is there anything we can do?

    Level 1 and 2 sex offenders, a matter of yards from where my daughter’s go to school!

    What is a Risk Level 1 Offender?

    Risk Level 1 offenders present the lowest possible risk to the community and their likelihood to re-offend is considered minimal. They normally have not exhibited predatory type characteristics and most have successfully participated or are participating in approved treatment programs. Many are first time offenders. The majority of the registered sex/kidnapping offenders in Whatcom County are classified as Level 1 offenders. They usually know, live with, or are related to their victims.

    What is a Risk Level 2 Offender?

    Risk Level 2 offenders present a moderate risk to the community and they have a higher likelihood of re-offending than level 1 offenders. They are considered an increased risk to re-offend because of the nature of their previous crime(s) and lifestyle (drug and alcohol abuse and other criminal activity). Some have refused to participate or failed to complete approved treatment programs. They may have more than one victim and the abuse may be long term. These offenders usually groom their victims and may use threats to commit their crimes. These crimes may be predatory with the offender using a position of trust to commit their crimes. Typically these individuals do not appreciate the damage they have done to their victims.

  31. Yeah, sex offenders!

    I tell you, Ballard’s small business community must be happy.

    Can you imagine the crush to get a seat at Volterra on Saturday nights once the ho-botel opens? Sex offenders lining up for Baby Cakes at Verité?

    Ballard will be paradise soon.

  32. You have to be kidding me if you think Ballard is unsafe. Homelessness is an unfortunate reality of the urban makeup. If you can’t handle it and want to live somewhere more homogeneous, move to the suburbs.

    In the mean time, the rest of Ballard can welcome a great organization that is here to provide the most basic human services for people who lack the support system that most of us take for granted.

  33. Compass Housing Alliance provides housing at 22 locations throughout King County without negatively impacting our neighborhoods. Through a combination of outreach and consistent performance we have established and maintain good working relationships with our neighbors and the neighborhoods. If you are interested in touring our properties or visiting with the neighbors of our other buildings we will arrange a tour.

    Discussion about the Building will be helpful if it is constructive and based in fact.
    • We did not sneak into Ballard without notice. We have been meeting with the Ballard District Council periodically for over two years. Notice of the project was provided to adjoining property owners in early 2008.
    • The Nyer Urness House will provide studio apartments to individuals who have been homeless. Housing operates very differently from a shelter. Apartment residents come and go at various times throughout the day, tending to their personal business, shopping for groceries, etc. The tenants of this building will not impact Ballard more than the tenants of any other apartment building.
    • People who are homeless in Ballard are welcome and will be encouraged to apply for an apartment; this housing is not a “dumping ground” for homeless people. Compass Housing Alliance is not shutting the Pioneer Square Shelter and moving the shelter residents to Ballard. That statement is a fabrication.
    • The 2nd floor dining room will serve residents one meal per day. The homeless 24/7 feeding program statement is another fabrication.
    • Visitors and traffic to and from the building will be limited and monitored. Alley security, identified by our neighbors as a current problem, will be improved by the building, the area around the building will be well lit and monitored by camera and Compass staff.

    Compass takes seriously its neighborhood responsibility and has offered to provide a forum for ongoing productive conversation. The best way to judge what impact Nyer Urness House will have on your neighborhood is to visit our other properties and to talk with our neighbors.

  34. “move to the suburbs.”

    Puh-lease Melissa…Ballard IS a suburb, a suburb of a mid-sized town. If you think you are living in a ‘city’ you need to travel some more.

  35. Puh-lease Ballard Welcomes…

    Find yourself a nice gated community and you can pull directly into your garage and never even have to look at your neighbors.

  36. Oh yeah, that’s right, Ballard is so gritty and urban. I mean, you have all the diversity of Swedes and Danes.

    LMAO, you think you’re livin’ large in the city here in Ballard?

    Get out and travel a bot. Ballard IS a suburb.

  37. Thanks, Compass Housing Alliance, for posting your message — what a breath of fresh air to hear and read some facts. I understand that CHA provides caring, clean services including housing for men, women, and children in many neighborhoods in Seattle and beyond. The reality is that homelessness is a crisis in many Seattle neighborhoods, and in King County. If we don’t want people to be sleeping outside, costing money in emergency rooms and jail cells, we need some safe places inside for them to live. 250 square feet per person sounds pretty modest to me.

    Many people who are homeless never thought they would need help. Think about people you may know who have been through domestic violence, served in combat, or suffered from undiagnosed or untreated mental illness.

  38. City girl is easy to say when you dont live next door. 11 parking spots if you look at he plans they have 40 work stations not counting kitchen help and staff. If the sure fear of the magnet this place will attract think of the parking impact. If this is going to be done, all the bases need to be covered so I agree it will be nice to see the homeless get a hand but not at the expense of hard working ballard residents and businesses.

  39. For the record compass housing has either lied to me or has changed it plans on several issues brought at a meeting. So don’t take their word for it because they will miss lead you.

  40. Nice job on picking a location Compass, I guess you didn’t do much research in this neighborhood at 3am when the vagrants are in the alley behind the lot and drug deals are happening on the corner. Putting a bunch of people who have most likely dealt with drug issues into this environment is a recipe for disaster. Compass workers and SPD better keep these people in check. Nobody in the building will be safe after the first incident.

  41. Dale’s post is taped up in the public spaces of the building I live in. It announces that a public meeting will be held tomorrow (Wednesday, May 12th) from 5-7 in the former Via Verde restaurant space, 1755 Market St.

    I hope the Compass center folks will be on hand to answer our questions.

  42. How do I get involved to formally oppose this project? Many people on this blog seem to be unhappy with the idea, is anyone aware of meetings taking place to discuss this?

  43. How do I get involved to formally support this project! Compass Housing Alliance is a strong and respected organization and I welcome them as a neighbor in my community.

  44. Compass Housing Alliance provides housing at 22 locations throughout King County without negatively impacting our neighborhoods.
    • We did not sneak into Ballard without notice. We have been meeting with the Ballard District Council periodically for over two years. Notice of the project was provided to adjoining property owners in early 2008.
    • The 2nd floor dining room will serve residents one meal per day. The homeless 24/7 feeding program statement is another fabrication.
    • Visitors and traffic to and from the building will be limited and monitored. Alley security, identified by our neighbors as a current problem, will be improved by the building, the area around the building will be well lit and monitored by camera and Compass staff.

    Stop spreading rumors and lies! As a born Seattleite, I am happy that services like this are moving in to the neighborhoods so places like downtown don’t have to provide it all. And as a person flirting with homelessness (due to unemployment), more of this type of thing is needed so those of us who work in service can continue to serve your snobby asses.

  45. I say supporting a population of folks in Ballard who are constantly struggling to stay warm, dry, and fed is a good thing. Good for them, obviously, especially with strong guidelines from Compass. Good for us too – homeless people are living here now, and if you live in Ballard, you are cohabitating with them already. Don’t you want people who are struggling with poor choices, mental illness, and poverty to be LESS desperate? If you think providing shelter is going to encourage criminality, wake up! A warm place to sleep and live is going to encourage some people to get back on their feet. Yeah, a percentage will abuse the system – but at least you won’t find them dead in your garden after a frost. Ballard isn’t some bastion of drug-free, white-gloved innocents – we’ve been a gritty neighborhood since the 1880’s. Honestly, even if you don’t possess any charity, think about it this way; do you want starving, frightened, and sick bums hitting you up for your nickel, or would you prefer warm, secure-feeling, and less typhoid-ridden bums pestering you? Choice seems clear to me.

  46. Gritty? How gritty is a 1 bedroom condo that costs 300k. This isn’t 1880 or even 1980 fella.

    Anyone living and working in a populated area will of course spend money in that community. Great. They spend money in Compton but I’m not moving there. The issue that seems to be a concern is that this will alter the demographic of this community. I know it is a concern for me as I prefer to live in a community where the demographic contains the smallest percentage of addicts, untreated mental health patients, criminals, and sex offenders and the highest percentage of working citizens. I’m a big fan of Mr. Gyro (geenwood) ,but, I will be less likely to go there if I have to walk past an assembly of mentally unstable people petitioning me for sponsorship. I do believe that as a citizen and human I have a social responsibility to assist in providing support for the people in my community that can’t support themselves but putting it in downtown Ballard is just devoid of common sense. Or.. maybe..they don’t care. Hmm. Why not above 85th, or downtown, or Windermere or Queen Anne. If you are saying this is good for Ballard, I would question your motives because it is obvious to the casual observer that this will only have a negative impact.

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