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Seattle dips into $200,000 fund to shelter refugee families for one week

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(The Center Square) – More 70 refugee families facing homelessness were able to secure a one-week extension at their stay in a hotel in Kent thanks to Seattle footing the bill.

Cathy Moore of the Seattle City Council worked in collaboration with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office and the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to fund the week-long extension.

The asylum seekers were staying at the Quality Inn located in Kent from Jan. 10 through Jan. 30. Facing eviction from the hotel, the refugees called on the Seattle City Council to utilize immediate emergency funds for temporary housing costs, as well as allocate funds for permanent shelter, attorney fees, and help obtaining work permits.

The Center Square reached out to Harrell’s office to learn about the costs to temporarily house the refugees.

Jamie Housen, the mayor’s director of communications, said that the Seattle City Council allocated $200,000 from the general budget to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs “in anticipation of issues facing migrants and refugees” last year.

“We expect to spend dollars out of that appropriation,” Housen told The Center Square in an email.

The $200,000 is intended for a range of support for migrants and refugees including: public health interventions; housing or shelter support; training for homeless service providers on the needs of unhoused migrants and asylum seekers; capacity building for local community organizations serving immigrants and refugees; and developing a long-term coordinated response to the urgent needs of migrants and asylum seekers.

The city is currently working with King County, Washington state, and other regional partners to find a more sustainable solution to address the humanitarian crisis.

“Moving forward, it’s clear we need a long-term solution from our county, state, and federal partners for these refugees and others to come,” Morse said in a news release.

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