To prevent and respond to homelessness in our community, the City of Bellevue provides access to shelter, housing and services to support housing stability, and implements fair enforcement of city code that promotes the safety and wellbeing of all Bellevue residents. We also support regional efforts to prevent homelessness and to make it rare, brief and one-time when it occurs.
Do you need help?
Help is within reach. Individuals and families in need can find help at Shelters and Safe Parking and Food Assistance. You can also contact Bellevue's homelessness outreach administrator Nicolas Quijano (425-452-4105 or email@example.com).
Addressing the Problem
Nationwide, studies have shown that lack of affordable housing is a primary cause of homelessness. Individuals and families experiencing homelessness may also have additional barriers to stable housing including low-paying jobs, domestic violence, chronic health problems, substance abuse or mental health issues
To prevent homelessness if possible and, when it does occur, return individuals to stable housing with supportive services as soon as possible, the city:
- implements an affordable housing strategy
- funds nonprofit organizations serving people experiencing homelessness
- supports shelters
- funds subsidized housing and related supportive services
- employs outreach staff to connect people experiencing homelessness to housing and services
- works in partnership with neighboring communities and regional agencies
- implements supportive services including a safe parking program
Eastgate Housing Campus
The City Council 2021-2023 Priorities directed the city to “work toward an Eastside solution for a permanent location for a men’s winter homeless shelter.” This vision, with support from community members, businesses, service providers and government partners, has resulted in the Eastgate Housing Campus. The permanent site includes the 100-bed PorchLight men’s shelter, along with 92 units of permanent supportive housing at Plymouth Crossing. Next door, 300 units of workforce housing are under construction.
Housing Stability Program
The city dedicates a portion of sales tax revenue authorized by House Bill 1590 (2020) to affordable and supportive housing and programs through its Housing Stability Program. The program allows nonprofit and community organizations offering behavioral health services, housing and employment services to Bellevue residents to apply for funding.
Health Through Housing
King County, through its Health Through Housing initiative, is working to create 1,600 units of permanent supportive housing (featuring 24/7 staffing that offers case management, employment counseling and medical/behavioral health services).
While Bellevue is not participating in this program, the county has purchased former hotels in neighboring Redmond and Kirkland, as well as other cities, and is converting them into housing with on-site services to provide people experiencing chronic homelessness a permanent place to live. For additional information, visit Health Through Housing or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see an individual in need of support or are concerned about a potential unauthorized encampment, please send us a note via the MyBellevue portal or on your phone via the MyBellevue app. Details about the city's response are available at Encampments, Living in Vehicles.
If you are a private property owner and someone is camping on your property, our how-to sheet offers guidance.
Legal Limits on Enforcement
The courts have issued rulings that affect how governments regulate their public property when it’s being used by those experiencing homelessness. Tent encampments or vehicle residences may be a person’s primary dwelling, so are treated with a similar privacy interest as one’s home.
The law provides for some protections and due process before the government may intrude on one’s home or seize personal property. For example, if a local government plans to clear an encampment, it must provide notice to the camp resident unless there is an urgent situation such as camp occupants posing a risk of immediate physical harm to others or blocking a sidewalk or access point.
Further, the courts have ruled that criminal and civil enforcement of anti-camping ordinances against individuals experiencing homelessness violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (cruel and unusual punishment) if no alternatives to sleeping in public are available. In other words, it is unconstitutional to punish simply sleeping somewhere in public if one has nowhere else to do so. Also, if an unhoused individual must sleep outside, cities cannot prohibit them from taking “rudimentary precautions” or necessary minimal measures to keep themselves warm and dry from the elements of weather.
This information is not comprehensive and should not be interpreted as legal advice. It is provided to show the legal principles involved in regulating public property. Additional information about how the city responds to vehicle or tent encampments is available at Encampments, Living in Vehicles.