New Skyway Resource Center receives national designation

The center was established with support of Renton Innovation Zone Partnership and the Renton School District

For years, the Skyway community has been asking King County to bring more social and human services into the neighborhood. The unincorporated area, which makes up the greater West Hill, does not belong to Seattle, Renton or Tukwila, yet its residents have to travel to one of these three cities to obtain vital services.

On Oct. 16, the Skyway community celebrated the Skyway Resource Center as a designation for a new HUD EnVision Center. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced earlier that week that the newly-opened Skyway Resource Center had been designated as the second HUD EnVision Center in Washington State. It’s one of the first EnVision Centers to use a pop-up pilot model to deliver social services and basic needs to the Skyway/West-Hill community, according to a press release.

Since Sept. 4, the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership (RIZP), the Renton School District and many other partners have hosted bi-weekly pop-up resource centers in the parking lot of New Birth Ministries, a local church located in the heart of Skyway/West Hill.

Embodying the resilient character of the community, all while during a pandemic, they have managed to bring together over 15 providers in one central location for community members to access essential resources that COVID-19 has only increased the need for.

The HUD EnVision Center supports four pillars: economic development, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership. It is under these pillars that providers, ranging from home visiting for new parents to drug and substance abuse, to financial literacy, job readiness and even a local council member, have all come into one outdoor space.

Community members can attend these pop-ups and browse the many services and tangible resources that are available in a safe, fun and family friendly atmosphere.

This designation was celebrated in front of families with a ribbon cutting ceremony and consisted of speeches given by U.S. Representative Adam Smith (Congressional 9th District.), King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, HUD Regional Administrator Jeff McMorris and Ryan Quigtar, the Executive Director of the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership.

“The EnVision Center is a vital resource for Skyway,” King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay stated in a press release. “It is also a wonderful example of the Skyway

community coming together to take care of one another despite a generation of disinvestment from its regional and state governments. My office will

continue to support the organizations launching the EnVision Center and we are excited to build on this foundation until we achieve a full-service

community center.”

In the three events they have held, over 150 families and individuals attended and received resources. Many of the attendees reside within the 98178 zip code of Skyway.

The next stage of this pop-up is to find a brick and mortar building to lease and/or buy. With a proposed $10 million dollars in the King County budget for a community center, this community vision is closer than ever before.

Every other Friday afternoon, the Skyway Resource Center offers a range of services that include: food boxes to rental assistance; free diapers for infants and books for older children; behavioral health and youth mentoring services; free bicycle repairs and kits for aspiring artists; cancer screening and assistance in applying for health insurance; referrals to substance abuse treatment programs and personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

The next Skyway Resource Center is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, at 12643 Renton Ave. S, Seattle.

U.S. Representative Adam Smith at the Oct. 16 ribbon cutting event. Courtesy photo/RIZP

U.S. Representative Adam Smith at the Oct. 16 ribbon cutting event. Courtesy photo/RIZP