A look at LIHI’s original Urban Rest Stop

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) is planning an Urban Rest Stop at their proposed low-income housing facility at 2014 NW 57th St. Urban Rest Stops are restrooms with shower and laundry facilities.

For more details about the rest stops, here’s a piece by the Seattle Channel on the recent 10-year-anniversary of the original location at 1924 9th Ave.

LIHI is hosting a meeting this evening at 6:30 p.m. to discuss their proposed facility. The meeting will be held in Conference room A at Swedish Ballard.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

11 thoughts to “A look at LIHI’s original Urban Rest Stop”

  1. Thank you for posting this! It’s something the anti-homeless alarmists need to see. What a great way to help people out of homelessness. And yes, it would be fine with me if you put it on my block (which is the one the Ballard Food Bank, which I actively support, used to be on. So I’m not just blowing smoke.)

  2. LastAnswer — The Ballard Food bank was moved because of the problems created by the homeless hanging around the food bank, sleeping on the neighbors lawns, breaking into their garages, etc. The director, Nancy McKinney, determined that the location was not conducive to a residential neighborhood. Did you know the Urban Rest Stop services 500-800 homeless a day from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Are you comfortable with this? Maybe you should check with your neighbors before you volunteer your block for the URS. And, can you give me that street again — I know the food bank was on 24th & 70th. Are you on 24th or 70th?

  3. The Ballard Food Bank moved because they lost their lease, and they needed a larger facility. We NEVER had any problems with them as neighbors, nor with the short-lived men’s shelter at Calvary Lutheran Church.

    I wasn’t cavalierly volunteering my block; all things must go through due process. I was simply expressing my willingness to reside near such a facility.

    And those 500-800 homeless a day (and (question your figures) are just people who are TRYING TO IMPROVE THEIR LOT IN LIFE, just like everyone who rides the bus or drives by my house each day. Yes, I am quite comfortable with that. It’s not like they’re football fans or other such undesirables. :-)

  4. Even though I can’t make it to the meeting, I thank Sharon Lee and Ronni Gilboa for coming to talk with the community! I support the low-income housing aspect of the proposal.

    However, the homeless housing/rest stop components, while worthy on their own in appropriate locations, seem like a puzzling Frankenstein’s Monster addition to a residential project in a quiet residential area. I hope Sharon and Ronni can help explain that aspect of the proposal, particularly:

    1) Is it legal to allow in only homeless families (and not individual homeless men and women) when FHA anti-discrimination law seems to prohibit discrimination on the basis of familial status? What specific criteria would be used to award units to the homeless?

    2) Why did LIHI decide to break with years of experience and propose including a high-volume Rest Stop (500-800 people per day) in a low-income housing project on a quiet residential street, rather than as a stand-alone unit or in conjunction with other high-traffic homeless services such as a food bank?

    3) What are the criteria LIHI uses to choose the location of a Rest Stop? Are they verified by “facts on the ground”?

    4) Why is LIHI proposing that 1/5 of the proposed units be used for homeless housing, given the severe shortage of low-income housing and the pending construction of dozens of units of homeless housing (and support services) a block closer to Market St (Urness House)?

    5) How many units of low-income housing would the site support if the entire site were dedicated to that (i.e. without Rest Stop, services, and homeless units)?

  5. An urban rest stop, if built in ballard, will not attract 500-800 people per day. The only reason the one downtown does, is because downtown is where all of the services are for the homeless. The shelters, the soup kitchens, the health clinics, the needle exchange etc… Building a relativily small homeless shelter in ballard with an urban rest stop will not attract the kind of numbers that are seen using the downtown location.

    And keep in mind, the urban rest stop is used by more than homeless. Those that can not afford to wash their clothes at the laundry mat can use the machines.

    This has the potential to help many people already living in our neighborhood.

  6. Hang on, we’re getting all these services too, including a methadone clinic so why shouldn’t we expect hundreds more hobos to migrate up here. I walked down Market today from 15th to 24th and counted over 20 bums (bums doesn’t mean homeless, many of these street scum bags are the dealers and scammers for the homeless). About 3 a minute.

    We’ll have a hobo-infestation like no ones business once this bum-let goes in.

  7. do you really think that someone is going to ride a bus to ballard to take a shower when they can walk 4 or 5 blocks downtown? Your fears are irrational.

    Its all about scale. A couple housing units in ballard is nothing compared to the services offered downtown.

  8. So I have several thoughts about the meeting tonight-

    My first impression is that my impression of Ballard grows better and brighter every time I attend one of these little get togethers. Kudos to all of you. I was impressed with the civility and clarity of everybody’s comments and that in no way is meant to imply people were’nt speaking their minds.

    Second, I want to state my bias clearly for those who seeemed surprised when I stated I was not “particularly opposed” to the “Low Income Housing” or the “Rest Stop”. Call it a religious, moral or political conviction, or whatever you like, but I believe there should be a “Rest Stop” in every neighborhood. It is too late for Ballard to be the first, but second best isn’t too bad. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ‘I’ll be proud of Ballard when we are fighting to have this facility here before the other neighborhoods.”

    That being said, the people who will be the neighbors of this facility, and bear the burden (BEAR THE BURDEN) of having it next door voiced very real, valid, and pressing concerns which demand OUR attention. Not only the attention of LIHI but those of us in the community that support this facility but don’t live next door.

    How will we answer these questions:

    What do we do about the people who have chosen the homeless lifestyle and flaunt it openly and beligerantly with anti-social behaviors which are both illegal and disturbing. To deny that these peopel are present now and might increase in numbers is foolishness?

    How will we tread the fine line between charity (our moral responsibilty) and enabling destructive and degenerate behavior?

    Is it possible that this initial burden the immediate neighbors will be asked to bear, will (or can) be turned into a boon. Is there a way to improve the odds that clean, well clothed men and women will by sheer presence push out those who would tarnish the neighborhood?

    These are just a few of the questions I left with after trying to listen with an open heart to everybody who attended. I am sure my short list could be added to and I hope that in subesequent meetings some of these will be addressed.

    We are a community after all. We have the luxury of time and a wealth of interest, creative minds, and intelligence to draw from. Is it possible we could create something here the world (or at least the rest of the city) would be in awe of? Just a thought.

  9. Urban Rest Stop is a fantastic idea, and from what I’ve read, it has been exceedingly well executed with an eye toward dignity, safety, and sanity.


    Snoopy is wrong to think that this new location will not be intended to draw from a wider swath of Seattle than just Ballard proper. And Ballard’s transit service is already overcrowded, slow, unpleasant, and in the case of the 44, past the tipping point of feeling like a rolling homeless shelter much of the day.

    Urban Rest Stop is non-judgmental towards its clients, tolerating the junkies and the alcoholics as long as they are not high or drunk on the premises. Again, good for instilling dignity, but not always great for others on the route to and from the facility. Follow this link and read the 3rd and 6th paragraphs to get a sense of the pros and cons of this approach.

    A second Urban Rest Stop location must not be cavalier about its siting; it must be able to serve the population that needs it, but not in such a way that its clients overwhelm its area and every means of access to it. I am increasingly convinced that our little downtown can’t handle any further influx of the perpetually strung-out (whistle-clean or not), and that Urban Rest Stop would be wise to consider the Ballard Food Bank area or the much-better-served-by-transit U-District.

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