King County’s Department of Community and Human Services will work with the Uptown Alliance on a Good Neighbor Agreement ahead of the opening of a 24/7 modular homeless shelter this summer.

The shelter is part of a pilot program announced by King County Executive Dow Constantine in August that uses manufactured housing components for quick construction. It also allows for the units to be easily moved to other public lands or faith-based properties in the future.

The low-barrier shelter will serve 72 people experiencing homelessness on surplus county property at 531 Elliott Ave.

Representatives from King County and shelter operator Catholic Community Services held the first information session about the shelter in Queen Anne last December, followed by a second at the Uptown Alliance’s January meeting.

Both meetings received mixed reviews.

A number of residents complained about a lack of communication earlier in the process and expressed concerns about who would use the shelter and whether drug use would be condoned at the facility.

Uptown Alliance co-president Rick Hooper tells Queen Anne News that members of the community group met with King County staff after the January meeting, and it was suggested that a Good Neighbor Agreement be generated. While the reaction was positive, UA members do not feel a draft agreement recently provided by the county would help as proposed, but understands it is a starting point, according to an email from Hooper to Queen Anne News.

“We really haven’t gone much beyond the bones of the agreement as a place to start conversation,” said Mark Ellerbrook, King County Housing and Community Development division director.

King County has developed Good Neighbor agreements for various projects over the years, including for its shelters. A Good Neighbor Agreement was developed with the White Center Community Development Center before a family shelter opened in 2017.

Ellerbrook said the agreements are meant to be between the county, service provider and a community sponsor, and are used to ensure the county and provider maintain communications about shelter operations and are responsive to ongoing needs or concerns about a project. The county would host a website with an FAQ and programmatic updates.

The three parties typically meet on a quarterly basis at the outset, and then scale back as confidence in the project improves.

“That’s certainly what has happened in White Center,” Ellerbrook said. “I think we typically meet twice a year, and one person comes to that meeting.”

He said it took several meetings to finalize the White Center agreement, and negotiations will likely be done through a subcommittee. Queen Anne Community Council representation was at the January UA meeting, Ellerbrook, and it’s possible QACC could have a seat at the negotiating table through a joint stakeholder group.

The Uptown Alliance will discuss the Good Neighbor Agreement during this month’s meeting from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at the Seattle Opera Center, 363 Mercer St. No King County staff will be able to attend that night, Ellerbrook said.

Crafting a Good Neighbor Agreement shouldn’t affect the shelter’s summer opening. Construction permits have been approved and units are being assembled in Marysville. They will later be trucked to the site and installed with a crane. There will need to be site work prior to that, Ellerbrook said, to set up foundations and utilities.

“I think we’re probably where we want to be on creating the Good Neighbor Agreement,” he said.