Repurposed North Seattle hotel opens for residents exiting homelessness

An encampment of people experiencing homelessness has moved back to the "Wall of Forgotten Natives" where a large encampment was located in 2018.

The first 15 residents are moving into Mary Pilgrim Inn, a former Seattle hotel repurposed into housing for people exiting homelessness.

Mary Pilgrim Inn is located at what used to be a Holiday Inn Express in North Seattle. As part of King County's Health Through Housing initiative, 100 people experiencing homelessness will be provided housing at the hotel.

To start, 15 people will be moved in this week, some relocated from an emergency shelter in Renton, and others simply unsheltered in the North Seattle area. Another 65 people will move in by next week, according to the King County Executive's Office.

"This summer when we announced these properties, some openly questioned our resolve – but now people who have been trapped in chronic homelessness are moving into a safe, dignified place of their own," said Executive Dow Constantine. "In just three months, we’ve gone from purchase to opening the doors and people resting their heads on their own pillows. And while we mark an important milestone today, our work continues. Before we are done, some 1,600 people will have left the streets behind and be on a path to better health, greater stability, and a more promising future."

Health Through Housing will try to engage with people experiencing chronic homelessness who may be at encampments in the surrounding area, such as Bitter Lake.

"The Mary Pilgrim Inn is [Downtown Emergency Service Center]'s next step in evolving from the major changes we made early in the pandemic. Those changes, made to keep people safe, also turned out to be better for our guests overall, reducing stress and allowing them to stabilize and pursue goals," says DESC Executive Director Daniel Malone. "As Health Through Housing continues and units become fully permanent supportive housing, the 1,600 units will be the single greatest commitment to bringing PSH to the scale our community needs."

DESC is the onsite service provider for Mary Pilgrim Inn, and the hotel is even named after one of the organization's longtime and beloved shelter nurses. The site was purchased in July 2021 for $17.5 million and is located near transportation, shopping and other services. The units are furnished and residents will be provided meal service and 24/7 case management, according to the Executive's Office.

Mary Pilgrim Inn is the eighth Health Through Housing property, with others located in Renton, Redmond, Auburn, Federal Way, Pioneer Square and North Seattle.

RELATED: HOMES Act takes aim at helping veterans experiencing homelessness

READ MORE: Seattle's uptick in 'visible homelessness' fueled by COVID pandemic, report finds

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