2 Share-Wheel letter to Mayor


Seattle Housing and Resource Effort

Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League

P.O. Box 2548

Seattle, WA  98111-2548

(206) 448-7889 (SHARE)

(206) 956-0334 (WHEEL)


22 February 2011


Mayor Mike McGinn

Deputy Mayor Darrell Smith

Mr Fred Podesta, Department of Finance and Administrative Services


Dear Mayor McGinn, Deputy Mayor Smith, and Mr Podesta:


Greetings from the 500 homeless women and men of SHARE and WHEEL!  As you know, SHARE/WHEEL is the largest and least expensive shelter network in the Pacific Northwest. 


SHARE/WHEEL has a 20-year track record of successfully self-managing shelter locations all over the County.  We also have facilitated staffed shelters: WHEEL has an excellent 11-year track record of running a City-funded, staffed, women’s shelter during the Severe Weather Season.  With City support, WHEEL is about to convert this shelter to operate all Winter long.  In the mid-‘90s, with County support, SHARE used to run a staffed Winter Shelter in the King County Administration Building.


There is a dire need for additional shelter throughout King County.  The recent One Night Count found more than 2,400 people outside, without shelter, just on one night and just in the counted areas.  In 2010, WHEEL/Church of Mary Magdalene Women in Black were heartbroken to stand for 36 homeless people who died outside or by violence in King County.  More than half of these died by violence, and 11 of the 36 were women—an all-time high.  Without shelter, people die.


Through Nickelsville’s duration in Lake City we have noticed a special need for additional indoor shelter in the Lake City neighborhood.  Many Lake City homeless people joined Nickelsville for a while, but were unable to remain due to Nickelsville’s policy of sobriety.  The Lake City Mennonite Church operates a Severe Weather shelter on nights of life-threatening weather, allowing those who struggle with sobriety and mental health to stay inside, safe and warm.  Both the service providers, like the Mennonites, and we homeless people, are very concerned about where the Lake City homeless people we love go on all the other nights of the year.


Our friends at Nickelsville have operated their encampment successfully for the past three months at Fire Station 39. We are grateful for the City of Seattle’s courageous leadership in allowing this to be. 


Nickelsville will be leaving Lake City’s Fire Station 39 on May 15th.   We, SHARE and WHEEL, would like to continue their good work with the Lake City homeless community by providing an innovative shelter (or shelters) at Fire Station 39 after Nickelsville leaves.  Nickelsville approached us with this idea, and supports our request to you.

Here is why SHARE and WHEEL using Fire Station 39 after May 15th would be a good thing for homeless people and all of Seattle:


  1. Lake City has embraced Nickelsville, and appreciates the community, organizing, clean-ups and accountability of an organized group inhabiting Fire Station 39.  SHARE and WHEEL could continue this effort, and would be able to build upon the bridges already built by Nickelsville.  It would be a shame and a waste to abandon the new connections and possibilities of such a good building and such valuable new partnerships. 


  1. It would keep Fire Station 39 from lapsing back into an abandoned haven for nefarious activities, which would be advantageous to SHAG and other senior housing programs nearby.


  1. It would save lives, since without shelter, people die, and there is a crying need for additional shelter.


  1. SHARE and WHEEL are inexpensive shelter operators.


  1. It would be a creative use of our limited resources.  Many different shelter models are possible in Fire Station 39.  Fire Station 39 is an ideal location for a multi-model sheltering program, which might include a Bunkhouse (day and night) self-managed model, and/or a shelter where sobriety is NOT required, like WHEEL’s Severe Weather Shelter


In times of economic duress, it’s important to maximize every resource, to be creative, and to do more with less.  It’s also important to prioritize protecting the most vulnerable among us.  That is why SHARE and WHEEL would like to work with the City of Seattle to provide shelter at Fire Station 39 after Nickelsville leaves on May 15th.


We’d be glad to meet with City of Seattle staff at your earliest convenience to discuss this important, exciting proposal.


Thank you for all you do, and have done, to support Seattle’s homeless community.



Members of SHARE and WHEEL