King County buys La Quinta Inn & Suites in Kirkland to become homeless shelter

The City Council simultaneously passes resolution to guide how the shelter will be implemented.

On March 3, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the County has acquired the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Kirkland. The hotel will serve as the second permanent supportive housing location on the Eastside as part of the Health Through Housing Initiative.

The hotel is located at 10530 Northup Way and is near I-405 and adjacent to several public transportation options that run throughout the city and region. The building was constructed in 1979, contains 121 rooms plus meeting space, and sits on 1.83 acres. The Kirkland purchase combined with the Redmond location acquired last year will bring 265 units to the Eastside.

With this latest addition, the tenth property acquired since last year, King County has secured nearly 1,000 units for chronically homeless residents to provide housing that the county says is dignified, protective, and service enriched.

“I am grateful for our partnership with the City of Kirkland, Mayor Penny Sweet, and the local leaders who recognize the need for a countywide approach to some of the pressing issues we face as a region,” said Executive Constantine. “Expanding our network and partnering with communities, we are building a regional solution to chronic homelessness, and opening doors to a home for hundreds of people in King County.”

Health Through Housing is a regional approach to addressing chronic homelessness on a countywide scale. By the end of 2022, King County will partner with local jurisdictions to create up to 1,600 emergency housing and permanent supportive housing units for people experiencing chronic homelessness.

The initiative is governed by the Health Through Housing Implementation Plan adopted by the King County Council in December 2021. Last year, King County purchased five buildings in Seattle, plus buildings in Auburn, Federal Way, Redmond, and Renton. The County continues to work with local jurisdictions on future acquisitions to meet the initiative’s goals.

In addition to a room to call their own, the hotel will offer residents 24/7 onsite staffing that will include case management and connections to physical and behavioral health services. A competitive process will determine the onsite service provider in Kirkland before the facility is operational.

The County will also complete building improvements and work with the operator, city, and community to establish a Good Neighbor Agreement before welcoming the first residents to the building in 2023. King County and the City of Kirkland will soon announce a schedule of public meetings to occur in Spring 2022 to receive additional input from community members and inform upcoming County and City decisions like selecting an operator for the housing and measuring success of the program in Kirkland.

During their meeting on March 1, the Kirkland City Council approved Resolution 5522, which sets terms and conditions necessary to maintain City support of La Quinta Inn as a King County Health Through Housing site. R-5522 was drafted based on community input and requirements by the City Council.

R-5522 includes a detailed Conceptual Term Sheet that outlines some of the most important terms and conditions that are necessary to maintain City support for the HTH project. Those terms and conditions include, but aren’t limited to:

City opportunity to review and approve County selection process and criteria for the Facility Operator.

City approval of terms and conditions of the Facility Operator agreement, such as resident screening criteria, operating standards, compliance with laws, and standards of care.

A safety and security plan to be developed in consultation with and approved by the Kirkland Police Department.

A community relations plan to be developed to address potential impacts on nearby schools, businesses, and/or residences including a proposed resolution and mitigation approach.

Input on development of a tenant code of conduct in consultation with the Facility Operator, service providers, and those who have a lived experience of homelessness.

R-5522 also requires a vigorous process of community engagement including town hall meetings and other opportunities for community feedback to help inform the agreements between the City, King County, and the future Facility Operator of the permanent supportive housing site at the La Quinta Inn.

“The Council is listening to the feedback from our community, and we are dedicated to a robust process of involvement with all stakeholders to ensure this project is a success. By adopting this resolution, the Council ensures that the City will be a full partner with King County on addressing community questions about a permanent supportive housing site at the La Quinta Inn,” said Kirkland CIty Councilmember Kelli Curtis.