With support from the City of Seattle, we temporarily moved some of our guests into the Miller Community Center to intensify our shelters to maintain social distancing. As Miller returns to the City of Seattle for regular usage at the end of August, we will continue to maintain social distancing and other COVID-19 requirements throughout all of our emergency shelters.

We are grateful to the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation staff for their professionalism and partnership throughout this whole process. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, Compass Housing Alliances made a series of changes to better protect our guests, residents, and staff. One of those steps was de-intensifying our emergency shelters. De-intensifying just means moving some of our guests to new locations in order to give enough room for proper social distancing in our shelters. The new location is housed at Miller Community Center, and it has been operating since March of this year.

Steven has been with Compass Housing Alliance for nearly two years and is a program coordinator at our Miller Shelter.

“We are seeing a lot of people coming through,” Steven said. “The need is big, even before COVID. There are just so many reasons that people experience homelessness. We take real care at intake to not judge people or assume they are here for this or that reason. We get to know our guests as individuals and work with them on a case by case basis. We work with them, we give them the tools, but it is up to them to use them.”

The shelter took on 35 guests from our Compass First Presbyterian Shelter and 15 from our Blaine Center Shelter. The Miller enhanced shelter features 24/7 access, on-site laundry, showers, hygiene services, common rooms with ping pong and TVs, and a laundry service for bedding.

“I came over from Compass First Presbyterian Shelter,” he said. “It was a comprehensive process setting Miller up. It’s an extension of the other enhanced shelters so it has the same type of amenities they do. We partnered with Seattle Human Services and the Seattle Parks and Recreation department, who own the building. They’ve been amazing to work with.”  

We have staff on hand 24/7 and the case managers from their original shelter are available to our guests.

“We have phones, computers, and everything is socially distanced and masked up,” Steven said. “We get our meals, three hot meals a day, from Operation Sack Lunch. The dining area and all the common rooms are spaced out and follow CDC and public health guidelines.”

We spot clean and sanitize throughout the day and have a professional cleaning service that comes in twice a day as well. There have been no positive cases of COVID-19 at the Miller Shelter.

“The other thing I love that we do is the services we provide,” Steven said. “Sometimes the support someone needs is as simple as covering the cost for something like a driver’s license, or first and last month’s rent. We have built into our program ways to remove the barriers that keep people from getting out of homelessness. Sometimes they just need a little support to change their own lives. One of the most gratifying things is seeing people rehoused and back on their feet. And we are seeing that from people from all walks of life.”

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