We knew it was coming, now the details are in: In early September, up to 100 homeless people will pack their scarce belongings and relocate to Airport Way South and South Adams Street in SODO—the former Sunny Jim Peanut Factory site—for a pilot project designed to transition them to stable housing within a year of their arrival. That is, if Mayor Mike McGinn gets his way.
Today, the mayor transmitted legislation (.pdf) to the city council to prepare the slightly toxic 20,000-square-foot site livable for homeless campers—with a trailer equipped with a kitchen, two showers, laundry facilities, storage lockers, and restrooms.
Within 90 days of arriving, campers will get help looking for stable housing elsewhere (.pdf).
The city's already running on a shoe-string budget, so the mayor proposes paying for capital costs to improve the site using the $621,000 insurance settlement the city received for the Sunny Jim fire last spring, and dipping into the city's general fund to cover operating costs this year (roughly another $86,000). Next year's operating costs would be figured into the 2012 budgeting process. A chunk of the operation expenses will pay an independent contractor to monitor both the site and the progress that residents make to find permanent housing, learn job skills, etc.
In addition, the camp will have to draft a Good Neighbor Agreement with nearby residents, no children will be allowed overnight, and—this will be a relief to some Georgetown residents—the pilot project will end on August 31, 2013.
The mayor's proposal doesn't seem to leave the door open to continue the project in SODO past that date, even in the event that it's wildly successful at transitioning homeless people to permanent housing. "The contractor with the City, the resident governance body and community partners will implement a plan to conclude the program after 24 months."
UPDATE: The mayor's office disagrees with my interpretation of the above quote (even though the meaning seems pretty goddamn clear, doesn't it?). They say that if successful, the pilot project could be continued, maybe, somewhere: "After the conclusion of this pilot program, we will assess the data and determine our next steps," says Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for the mayor*.
"We've said all along that it's going to be a semi-permanent site," explains Pickus. "It's a temporary strategy. We're proposing funding for two years, we're going to track their progress and see what results come out of it."
*A friendly reminder, Aaron: Strong quotes are how you WIN THE FUTURE.