Year-round homeless shelter proposed in Arlington

An office building in Arlington may help the fight against homelessness.

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The county manager has proposed buying the property to help redevelopment in the courthouse area while addressing the challenges of the emergency winter shelter.

Emergency winter shelter operated by the nonprofit Arlington Street People's Assistance Network close on April 1.

“We have over 70 people leaving who go back out onto the streets,” said Kathleen Sibert, the group’s executive director. “Really there are no options other than [our shelter] for many of these people.”

The group wants to offer help to homeless clients year round by 2013. The proposal by the county manager could make that a reality.

“The county manager is going to recommend to the county board that it authorize the purchase of this building 2020 14th Street North,” said county spokesperson Diana Sun.

The proposal includes transforming two floors of that building for a comprehensive homeless services center.

“It will be a year-round shelter for individuals to have a place to sleep, but it also will offer wraparound services for those individuals during the day,” Sibert said.

The seven-story, 70,000 square foot facility is part of a larger plan to redevelop the courthouse area, where more government office space is also needed.

“This move of purchasing the building will also help us fulfill a longterm vision that has been in place since the 1980s, to make this courthouse area into a vibrant mixed-use area,” Sun said.

About 23 tenants currently occupy the existing building.

“A number of them will stay and we will unfortunately have to ask some of them to vacate, so we can move our space needs in there,” Sun said.

The county board will consider the resolution on Dec. 13.

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