The Lewis County commissioners have granted a two-week extension on applications for providers to operate a night-by-night shelter, which is set to be open this year on Kresky Avenue near Yard Birds.
A night-by-night shelter is a homeless shelter that is vacated each morning. Some offer various services throughout the day, but beds and spaces are not reserved for guests.
According to a county news release on Tuesday, the request for applications seeks a provider “to collaboratively design a permanent night-by-night shelter program with county staff, technical consultants and citizen advisory committee members.”
Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. April 11.
Commissioner Sean Swope, who has largely driven the shelter project, told The Chronicle on Tuesday afternoon the county had received just one applicant for the project since opening the request for proposals in late February. However, other applicants had expressed interest in the process, and Swope felt they didn’t all have enough time for those candidates to submit.
“When it was proposed … I felt like the timeline was too short,” Swope said.
He added the project’s capacity is “major” and that it’s extremely important the county finds a provider who can “do it right.”
“This isn’t just another government function,” Swope said. “We want to do something meaningful, impactful.”
According to the news release, a successful application would go beyond establishing the county’s night-by-night emergency shelter, but would have a “pipeline for housing and supportive services, to help clients step up into more permanent housing.”
The proposals will form the start of a collaborative development process between various stakeholders.
“This shelter will be the first step on the ladder to housing — it needs to be well-designed, in partnership with a provider who can both house people when they are most vulnerable and empower them to succeed in finding housing,” said Eric Eisenburg, Lewis County’s housing and infrastructure specialist, in the release.
Eisenberg led the effort to develop the county’s 12-step housing initiative, which is meant to address a crisis revealed by his study to be fueled by a 69% drop in the number of homes for sale in Lewis County between 2012 and 2021.
Read more about that plan at https://lewiscountywa.gov/offices/commissioners/housing-initiative/.
Copies of the request for proposals and supporting materials are available at https://lewiscountywa.gov/offices/commissioners/bocc-legal-notices/.