The following is a statement from the Navigation Center Community Task Force:
Mayor [Ed] Murray agreed to “pause” the Navigation Center’s operations at the March 10th community-city meeting until a detailed plan is vetted by the Chinatown/International District (CID) community. Since then, the Friends of Little Saigon convened a Navigation Center Community Task Force (NCCTF) to meet with community partners, residents and visitors. After several community engagement sessions that were open to the general public, the NCCTF produced a Response Plan that advocates for the community’s existing and future needs exacerbated by the Navigation Center’s siting.
These efforts, however, do not suggest the NCCTF’s support for the operation of the Navigation Center in the CID neighborhood. In fact, the Friends of Little Saigon were surprised and are concerned that the City of Seattle and DESC decided to open the Navigation Center on July 12th without the community’s submission of the Response Plan. This puts into question their willingness to work with the community. The NCCTF has been working diligently to collect community concerns and developing a plan to mitigate these concerns. This process has been impeded by the failure of the City and DESC to provide the requested operations and public safety plans for the Center.
To draft this Response Plan, community partners, residents, and visitors shared their real experiences and lessons they learned during the past couple of years with the placement of sanctioned and unsanctioned encampments located in and around the CID. Also, members of the NCCTF researched the experiences of other cities that have established similar programs for people facing homelessness to better understand the impacts on those areas, including on the homeless communities. The Response Plan is organized according to the four themes identified by members of the NCCTF: Public Safety & Navigation Center Operations, Public Health & Services, Economic & Community Investments and Community Engagement & Partnership.
On June 30th, the NCCTF will email this Response Plan to the Mayor and City Council. The NCCTF expects a full response from the City of Seattle detailing what the City will do for each proposed strategy including a description of resources to be provided, timeframe for implementation, and identification of City agency that will work with the community.