The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Report outlines impact of homeless shelter at Renton hotel

City and county still at odds over use of Red Lion during pandemic.

A report for the King County Council offered the chance for council members to discuss the emergency housing of about 200 people experiencing homelessness at the Red Lion Hotel on Grady Way in Renton.

The hotel’s use as a temporary homeless shelter has caused distress in recent weeks for city leaders and neighboring businesses.

As previously reported by the Renton Reporter, Mayor Armondo Pavone and other city leaders pleaded with the King County Council to close the Red Lion “de-intensification” shelter by July 9, citing an increase in emergency calls to the area. Renton officials also asked for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) about the use of the hotel.

The decision to extend the use of the hotel is up to King County Executive Dow Constantine. Since that request in early May, the city and county have not yet reached an MOU.

King County Council members are not directly involved with the lease extension on the hotel, but they discussed how the hotel has been working at a May 27 meeting.

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove made a statement on the hotel regarding policies that should surround the county’s use of the site. He also offered to help facilitate conversations between the city and county to finalize the language of an MOU. He said there needed to be respect and transparency during this time for the clients, city, affected businesses and hotel owners.

The report also showed that giving the clients access to basic resources of a private space, bathroom and bed at the Renton hotel has led to a physical transformation in some clients to the extent where social workers “have not physically recognized their clients despite long-standing service relationships” compared to their time at the shelter on Third Avenue in Seattle. The hotel has also helped stop the spread of COVID-19 in this homeless community — as of the writing of the report, 200 COVID-19 tests had been administered to the clients at Red Lion, all of which came back negative.

The Red Lion is housing more clients than any other emergency shelter in the county during this crisis at around 200 people. Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) Director Leo Flor told councilmembers that it’s important for people who have formed supportive communities to stay together. At the same time, county leaders are learning lessons about what size of shelter is most beneficial to clients.

“The work you have all done is literally life changing, from what I’ve heard from clients who are there,” Councilmember Girmay Zahilay said at the May 27 meeting, thanking housing advocates for their work.

The report states that King County used an equity impact tool to be aware of how the hotel could affect vulnerable populations with limited resources. The tool showed the region of the city with the hotel-turned-shelter was at low risk of suffering a long-term impact. At the county council meeting, staff noted the hotel’s distance from residential areas.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

Photo courtesy of Urban Family.
Local groups pull together to support 12,000 families during pandemic

Renton Innovation Zone Partnership hit the ground running, working with several organizations to help vulnerable Skyway and Highlands families with food, masks and more.

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

Photo from the scene of a drive-by shooting at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. Photo by David Nelson.
Drive-by shooting at Coulon Park Tuesday interrupted memorial

Two were shot, one with life threatening injuries. Renton Police Department is investigating.

Sound Transit gets $100 million federal grant for Federal Way light rail extension

Portion of $790 million payment toward $3.1 billion project

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Most Read