(The Center Square) – With only hours to spare ahead of the deadline, the Burien City Council on Monday night decided to accept King County’s offer of $1 million and 35 pallet shelters.
The city received an official offer from the Office of King County Executive Dow Constantine in June. The offer included access to $1 million, through the King County Regional Homelessness Authority only, and 35 pallet shelters.
The Burien City Council needed to approve a location for the pallet shelters by Tuesday in order to officially receive the $1 million. Pallet shelters are rapid-response temporary shelter units. Many call these units “tiny house villages.”
The pallet shelters will operate for up to one year, or whenever the $1 million from King County runs out. According to the legislation, the estimated grand total for setting up and operating the 35 pallet shelters for one year ranges between $900,000 and $1.2 million.
Estimated staffing expenses take up the biggest portion of spending, with a range of $600,000 to $800,000.
“Here we are trying to use these limited resources to take care of 40 to 70 people, but we’ll do the best we can with [the $1 million],” Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon said at Monday night’s city council meeting.
The shelters will be placed on a lot owned by Seattle City Light. However, the lot is still not developed, according to the agenda bill.
Originally, King County offered 20 shelters, but later identified 15 additional shelters for potential use.
The increased number of available beds for homeless people comes following a ban on camping on public property that the city recently approved. That ban is set to go into effect on Dec. 1.
Multiple residents spoke on the council’s failure to approve of a location before Tuesday’s deadline during the council meeting’s public comment period. The majority of public commenters were in favor of the pallet shelters, even if services last under one year.
The motion passed 4-3. In order for people to have access to the pallet shelters, they will have to abide by the city’s code of conduct. This includes no registered sex offenders; no firearms; no drug use, alcohol use, or smoking marijuana on site or in the surrounding neighborhood; and no safe parking.