Mayor Pauses Navigation Center for Community Engagement

SEATTLE (April, 23, 2017) – There have been many questions about the effectiveness and logistics of the Navigation Center and how it furthers the City’s long plan to address homelessness, specifically from community stakeholders in Little Saigon and the Chinatown International District (CID).

As a community of refugees and immigrants, this community has first-hand experience with poverty, displacement, and unsheltered living.  Friends of Little Saigon, partners, and allies empathize with those in unstable housing and support sustainable and equitable efforts to address homelessness in our region. We have convened a Community Taskforce to advocate for the needs of the CID neighborhood and other communities of color facing displacement.

After the protest at City Hall on March 6 and a meeting with the Mayor and his top advisors on March 10, the Mayor has agreed to “pause” the Navigation Center operation until a detailed plan is vetted and approved by the community.  The “pause” means that although construction to upgrade the center is going on, the service provider, DESC, will not occupy the building and start their programming until the plan is approved by the community.   

The Taskforce’s main concerns are 1) the lack of authentic engagement with communities of color and 2) the negative safety, public health, economic, and cultural impacts on Little Saigon and CID communities.  Specifically, the Taskforce is concerned with how the public safety, health, and sanitation issues impact the health and lifestyle of our residents, the operations of our business owners and service providers, and the experience of our visitors. Ultimately, this will negatively impact the economic and cultural vitality of the CID.

Goals of the Community Taskforce include:

  1. Offering space for concerned community members to bring questions and feedback;
  2. Serving as a community body to advocate for the concerns and needs of the community;
  3. Working on a plan to address community engagement, public safety, health, sanitation, economic and cultural impacts on the CID and other communities of color.

Although the Community Taskforce is proactively addressing the public safety, public health, economic, and cultural impacts and concerns, this effort does not suggest the community’s support for the operation of the Navigation Center in the CID neighborhood.

The Community Taskforce meets bi-weekly and will be seeking input on the community plan. To stay updated on this process and provide input, a meeting schedule and minutes are posted on the Friends of Little Saigon website under Navigation Center Community Taskforce, http://bit.ly/2on8Fgi.