Seattle facility to help those experiencing homelessness in Native communities

This week, there was a new attempt to harm people living on the streets.

A suspect drove a car through several tents in Seattle's Pioneer Square on Tuesday, which is why the Sacred Medicine House, a new apartment building for single adults experiencing chronic homelessness, may be opening just in time.

"We target the most vulnerable population in our native community," said Derrick Bellgarde, Executive Director for the Chief Seattle Club.

On Friday, the Native-led Housing & Human Services agency opened its new supportive housing facility for adults experiencing homelessness.

"We’re 2% of the population, but yet four years ago, we made up 32% of single chronic adult homelessness," Bellgarde said.

The 120 units come complete with a kitchen, bathroom, closet and living space, and each floor is dedicated to a different tribal region and depicted with artwork.

"This is Sacred Medicine," Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said. "The name is profound because it’s going to take this kind of love and commitment in the community and, quite frankly, hard dollars."

Harrell was among the guest speakers at Friday’s event. FOX 13 News asked him about the incident that appeared to target those who are homeless in Pioneer Square. He wanted to focus on Friday’s event though, rather than Tuesday’s violence.

"It all really boils down to one thing: we want everyone to be safe and give people [the] housing support that they need," Harrell said.

Harrell says it’s ongoing work, but he believes they’re headed in the right direction. FOX 13 News also asked him about the status of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.

"The city right now is recognizing some of the missteps they’ve had in the past. We have new interim leadership in place, they are working with the city and my office and the county to look at what governance issues need to be changed and how they can be more efficient and effective in what they do," said Harrell.

As the city works, Bellgarde told FOX 13, this is only the beginning of their work to end homelessness in indigenous communities. "Our goal in the next five years is to get to functional zero by adding another building," Bellgarde said. "This is just one step to that, this is just one brick, one pillar."


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The facility hopes to start moving people in by the end of the month.