New Eastside day center will serve homeless families

  • Written by Northwest Catholic
  • Published in Local
The New Bethlehem Project's day shelter will be housed in the basement of Salt House in Kirkland. Screenshot from New Bethlehem Project Solterra video The New Bethlehem Project's day shelter will be housed in the basement of Salt House in Kirkland. Screenshot from New Bethlehem Project Solterra video

KIRKLAND – Two Eastside parishes and Catholic Community Services of Western Washington are joining with other faith communities to open a day center for families experiencing homelessness.

CCS and Salt House, a Lutheran church in Kirkland, have signed a three-year lease for the New Bethlehem Project Day Center to operate in the church’s lower level.

“CCS welcomes this exciting opportunity to help make a difference on the Eastside,” Bill Hallerman, CCS agency director, said in a news release.

Expected to open this fall, the center will accommodate up to 50 adults and children. Besides a warm, safe place to stay during the day, families will have access to meals, showers, laundry facilities and computers, as well as employment, housing and case-management services.

The New Bethlehem Project is a mission of Holy Family Parish in Kirkland in collaboration with CCS, St. Louise Parish in Bellevue, Salt House and Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland and other faith communities and organizations. CCS was selected to manage the center because of its experience operating shelter and housing projects throughout Western Washington, the release states.

“This agreement is a great step forward in serving those in urgent need on the Eastside,” Father Kurt Nagel, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Kirkland, said in a news release.

Several hundred school children in the Lake Washington and Bellevue School Districts have been identified as homeless, according to the release. In King County, the 2016 One Night Count found 4,505 people living without any shelter — an increase of 19 percent since last year’s count — and some 6,000 others are estimated to be living in emergency shelters and transitional housing, the release adds.

“Through the financial generosity of our parishioners, and donations from our partner faith communities, $475,000 has been raised toward our $550,000 campaign goal in support of this important, first New Bethlehem Project,” Father Nagel said.

The money will help pay for remodeling Salt House’s unfinished lower level and cover costs of the day center’s first year of operation. Construction is expected to begin in July and be complete by the end of September.

Additional donations could be used to extend the center’s hours, pay for its second year of operation or provide extra shelter nights on the Eastside depending on the greatest need, the release states.

The New Bethlehem Project also recently won a contest for a $25,000 solar energy system that will help cover some of the project's utility bills.

How to help

Learn more, donate or volunteer for the New Bethlehem Project. Donations can also be made through CCS.