King County pilots innovative solutions for shelter, permanent housing

The King County Department of Community and Human Services placed an order for 29 modular units to house approximately 100 people, the County’s first acquisition of modular housing to provide affordable, mobile units that can be placed into service much faster than units built by traditional construction.  The County is also partnering with the City of Shoreline on a supportive housing project for 80-100 people that proposes to model modular construction for permanent affordable housing development.

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Architectural rendering of Modular Micro Dwelling Units.

Modular is a type of housing in which the components are manufactured elsewhere and then assembled at the building site. It allows for custom construction at economical prices. Since modulars are built indoors at a facility, there is never a weather delay.

The $4.5 million contract with Whitley Evergreen of Marysville calls for two types of modular housing to be delivered by the middle of next year: congregate shelter and micro dwelling units. The modular manufacturer for the Shoreline project will be identified later this year. All three projects will have 24/7 onsite services provided by community-based agencies.

The State of Washington contributed $1.5 million for the congregate shelter and dwelling units.

“To tackle the housing crisis, we need to explore different options to get people housed quickly. Modular housing has shown great promise, and may play a key part in our regional response,” said Executive Constantine. “To be successful, we will need everyone – local jurisdictions, neighbors, and community partners – to help us take this approach to scale and give people secure and stable places to live.”

Modular Congregate Shelter

King County is developing a prototype modular congregate shelter project tentatively planned for County-owned land on Elliott Avenue in Seattle.

Project: Campus-like layout, with nine dormitory units – 8 beds per unit – to house 72 people. Individual storage lockers in every dorm. Connected to common buildings via walkways.

Target population: People with behavioral health needs and people exiting homelessness. Singles, couples, pets welcome.

Provider:  Catholic Community Services providing 24/7 case management.

Funding: $4.5 million King County funding, including $2.7 million to purchase modules and site improvements. Per person cost: approximately $62,500 in capital costs includes sleeping quarters, full kitchen facility, full bathroom facilities, laundry and case management offices.

Special features: Campus will include building with common area dining/kitchen/gathering room and program space; building with toilets, sinks and showers; and building with laundry facilities, storage space and offices. Heat and air conditioning in all buildings.

Modular components: Buildings are built to last at least 20 years, and can be moved to different locations.

Timeline: Manufacturing completed June, project complete approximately in August 2019.

Testing: Pilot testing functionality of movable buildings for purpose-built shelter as a model that can be replicated on public land, faith-based properties or sites held for future development.

Modular Micro Dwelling Units

King County has ordered 20 prototype Micro Dwelling Units to create housing for about 25 people, singles and couples.

Project: Fully permitted homes with a living/sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom and closet.

Target population: People needing affordable housing. First application for people with behavioral health needs and people exiting homelessness.

Provider:  Downtown Emergency Service Center providing 24/7 case management.

Funding: $3 million King County funding, including $1.8 million to purchase modules. Per unit cost: approximately $150,000 (does not include land). Location still to be determined.

Special features: Fully contained housing with heat and air conditioning and all life safety features such as fire suppression sprinklers.

Modular components: Buildings are built to last at least 20 years and can be moved to different locations.

Timeline: Manufacturing completed June, project complete approximately in August 2019.

Testing: Pilot testing functionality of high quality movable modular buildings for affordable housing as a model that can be replicated on publicly-owned land, faith-based properties or sites held for future development.

Modular Permanent Supportive Housing

King County and the City of Shoreline are collaborating on a new permanent supportive housing project located at North 198th and Aurora Avenue North in Shoreline.  The City and County have selected Community Psychiatric Clinic as the service provider and Catholic Housing Services as the development consultant. The community outreach phase of the project has just begun.

Project: 80-100 housing units – studios and one-bedroom – with 24/7 onsite case management.

Target population: People with behavioral health needs and people exiting homelessness.

Providers:  Community Psychiatric Clinic – owner and service provider. Catholic Housing Services – development consultant.  Selected through a competitive process.

Funding: Land provided by City of Shoreline and $4.5 million from King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy. Additional funding still under development.

Special features: Onsite physical and behavioral health clinic open to the public.

Modular components: The project is exploring components to be fabricated offsite and assembled onsite on a fixed concrete foundation. Building will meet all Shoreline building code requirements for multi-family residential buildings.

Timeline: Public notification process September; in design phase now.

Testing: Speed and cost of modular affordable housing construction vs. traditional construction.