King County announced this week that it has purchased the former Clarion Inn in Auburn to provide housing to 102 people experiencing chronic homelessness.

This is the fifth purchase in County Executive Dow Constantine’s “Health through Housing” initiative to provide supportive housing for people experiencing chronic or long-term homelessness. With acquisitions to date, Health through Housing will provide approximately 535 units for King County’s chronically homeless residents.

King County Executive Dow Constantine joined Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and other guests at a news conference on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 to announce the $11.8 million purchase of the hotel, which will soon provide housing for up to 102 people experiencing homelessness.

The former Clarion Inn in Auburn is located at 9 16th Street NW (map below) and is conveniently located near transportation options and other services. It was constructed in 1998 and contains 102 units.

“With this acquisition another 100 people will be able to come in off the street, as this partnership with Mayor Backus and Auburn will set another piece of the puzzle to ending chronic homelessness in King County,” said Executive Constantine. “Our approach is straightforward – practical and humane – and we’re thrilled to be able to offer more people in South King County the chance at a fresh start. We’re thankful to the City of Auburn and the Auburn business community for stepping up to help people out of homelessness and into a clean, safe, dignified place of their own – with the support to stay housed.”

The Health through Housing program provides people experiencing, and at risk of, chronic homelessness with safe, single-room housing. The building will serve initially as emergency supportive housing and will later be converted to permanent supportive housing.

“We are excited by the opportunity this facility creates to support Auburn’s unsheltered community and bridge the gap for our region’s permanent supportive housing needs,” said Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus. “We look forward to working closely with the county as we move forward in determining a service provider that can best meet the needs of the residents at this location.”

In addition to a room to call their own, the hotel will offer residents 24/7 staffing and onsite supports to help very vulnerable people regain health and stability. A competitive process will determine the onsite service provider before the facility is operational later this year.

As with all Health through Housing initiative hotel purchases, King County worked closely with local leaders to complete the purchase, coordinating with leaders from the city of Auburn.

“We strongly support the City of Auburn and King County in addressing a major issue facing our communities. We can clearly see the benefit to our community and to the people who will be provided housing,” said Jerry Chase, President and CEO of Orion Industries. “Housing insecurity is a major obstacle to employment and an issue we often have to work with our Program Participants to resolve. To have this innovative housing solution within walking distance of Orion will mean that we can open our doors to more people trying to improve their lives.”

The Auburn purchase is Health through Housing’s southernmost. King County has purchased four other hotels in the Health through Housing initiative: the former Silver Cloud Inn in Redmond with 144 units, the former Holiday Inn Express & Suites North Seattle with 99 units, the former Extended Stay America hotel in Renton with 110 units and the Inn at Queen Anne with 80 units. In total, King County has purchased 535 units for this effort thus far.

Health through Housing is an initiative introduced by Executive Constantine in his 2020 Budget Speech that dedicates one tenth of a cent of sales tax revenues for the purchase of hotels, motels and other single room settings for use as emergency and permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in King County. The King County Council approved the initiative and the implementation of the funding. The sales tax was made possible by the Washington State Legislature to create a dedicated fund source to help in addressing the crisis of homelessness.

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