The Extended Stay America hotel in Federal Way is among King County’s next round of purchases for the Health Through Housing program, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on Thursday morning.
The county’s plans to purchase its sixth, seventh and eighth Health Through Housing properties before winter for a of total $96 million.
The agreements announced on July 29 are for the purchase of the former Extended Stay America in Federal Way for $23 million, the Canton Lofts apartment building in Pioneer Square for $32 million and the former Extended Stay America in North Seattle for $41 million.
“For too long, we’ve let process stand in the way of progress, and with our regional partners across King County we have acted swiftly to purchase the first eight Health Through Housing properties, a substantial step forward in our regional solution to chronic homelessness,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
The first Health Through Housing location was announced two months ago; the county will have up to 1,600 units to house individuals experiencing chronic homelessness by the end of next year.
The former Extended Stay America (400 S. 320th St. in Federal Way) was built in 1999 and has 101 units. The program will offer 24/7 staffing and onsite supports, according to the county.
King County says they have worked closely with local leaders of all program locations to complete the agreements, including coordinating efforts with leaders from the City of Federal Way.
“The city is not a party to this,” said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. “We knew they [King County Executive Dow Constantine] were working on something like this, but we didn’t get confirmation until yesterday.”
Ferrell said the city did not play a role in negotiations nor agreement process, but were aware of the county’s plans to secure the Federal Way hotel. A spokesperson for Constantine said the county executive and Ferrell have been discussing the property since May.
“We have been working with the mayor and his staff throughout this process,” said Chase Gallagher, interim communications director for Constantine. “They’ve been briefed how we have been pursuing this property.”
Ferrell said the city will aim to help the county where needed, but emphasized the city is not involved in the logistics of the pending purchase.
“We’re not involved in the transaction, this is not a City of Federal Way transaction,” he said. “We’re not a party to this transaction in any way — none, zero.”
In the past five years, the city has cleaned over 200 encampments and referred people to both local and regional shelters, Ferrell said.
“At some point, however, we need to start answering the question about: where are homeless people are going to go when they leave those encampments?” he said. “I think that this program addresses that question.”
Leo Flor, King County Director Department of Community and Human Services, will make a presentation at an upcoming study session about the Federal Way Health Through Housing program at the next City Council meeting on Aug. 10.
In addition to the Thursday purchase agreement announcements, King County has purchased five other properties since May, including the former Silver Cloud Inn in Redmond with 144 units; the former Holiday Inn Express & Suites in North Seattle with 99 units; the former Extended Stay America hotel in Renton with 110 units; the former Inn at Queen Anne in Seattle with 80 units; and the former Clarion Inn in Auburn with 102 units.
Since May, $198 million has been invested into the Health Through Housing program properties. Funding for the program is from one-tenth of a cent of sales tax revenues for the purchase of hotels, motels, and other single room settings for use as emergency and permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in King County.