King County to convert homeless hotel to house Afghan refugees

1400 S 320th St, Federal Way, WA 98003 (courtesy King County)

To support Afghan refugees preparing for resettlement, King County has announced plans to invest $ 500,000 in temporary housing and community services in areas such as Federal Way’s Extended Stay America.

“The fabric of our community is continually strengthened by those who arrive here from other nations, whether under duress or by choice. These investments in resettlement are helping to open a new chapter in the lives of these families as they move back here to King County, ”said Director Constantine. “We can help by taking concrete steps to ensure that the families and community partners who will support them have what they need to facilitate the resettlement process. “

The county acquired the Extended Stay America Hotel in July as part of its Health Through Housing initiative, which sparked a wave of local hotel purchases aimed at tackling chronic homelessness. Extended Stay America will be temporarily reassigned to accommodate the influx of Afghan refugees.

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Beyond housing support, the investment will help community partners provide language services, including translation, as well as community grants to organizations that assist with the resettlement of Afghans.

Community partners include World Relief, the International Rescue Committee, and other local resettlement agencies. King County will provide personnel support.

“World Relief commends the King County executive for taking proactive steps to welcome Afghan refugees with bold political action and resources,” said Chitra Hanstad, executive director of Kent-based World Relief. “As we embark on the important work of settling our new neighbors and preparing them to begin their lives in the Pacific Northwest, the county’s incredible support with this innovative public / private partnership will provide much needed capacity to bring people to find accommodation. and ready to navigate their new communities.

“We are delighted with this new partnership with King County to temporarily house Afghan refugees in safe and secure accommodation,” said Kathleen Morris, deputy director of the SeaTac-based International Rescue Committee. “Welcoming refugees is an imperative and a long-standing practice here in the Puget Sound area, and we look forward to working with the county to ensure these new residents have what they need to join the community and participate in the life of this place. . “

Funding will be provided by the Office of Equity and Social Justice, as well as the Ministry of Community and Social Services.