Plymouth Crossing: Bellevue’s first permanent supportive housing development


Plymouth Housing just opened its first permanent supportive housing building on the Eastside, marking a pivotal point for Bellevue in tackling the homelessness crisis. Made possible through the generosity and hard work of corporate partners, Plymouth Crossing will not only provide 92 units of permanent housing, but on-site case management and health services as well to ensure well-rounded care for its residents. 

Located in Bellevue’s Eastgate neighborhood, the Plymouth Crossing development is part of a larger campus which will include a men’s shelter — operated by Congregations for the Homeless — and over 350 units of workforce housing through the Inland Group. Working tangentially to create a safe and welcoming community for those often left in the margins, these groups and their volunteers have done a lot of heavy lifting to get the respective projects completed and move-in ready. 

“Plymouth Housing's new building will help advance a vibrant community in Bellevue and the Eastside,” said Bellevue Chamber President & CEO, Joe Fain. “When we account for the needs of the most vulnerable among us, everyone benefits. Plymouth Crossing and the broader Eastgate Housing Campus are the solutions to homelessness and housing insecurity we need, created through a collaborative partnership with the public sector, the business community, and those who live and work here."

Many shareholder and public interest groups weighed in on the Plymouth Crossing development — both before, during, and post-construction — including the Eastside Community Development Fund (ECDF). CEO David Bowling was front-and-center at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating this win for Bellevue alongside Mayor Lynne Robinson, City Council members, and the like. 

“It was an amazing day to celebrate the opening of housing that will safe lives,” said Bowling. 

Interested in the meat-and-potatoes of it all? 

Check out the following FAQs from the community meetings discussing this project. 

A: “This project is funded by a combination of local funders such as King County and the Washington State Housing Trust Fund, as well as a private construction lender. We were also awarded tax credits through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program through which we will partner with a private tax credit investor.”
A: “In order to reach the most vulnerable individuals in our community who need housing the most, we bring in folks from a variety of sources. Many of our tenants come through a county-wide referral system called Coordinated Entry. We also look to partner with local agencies to help bring in individuals directly from the communities in which our buildings are based. In fact, one role of our on-site case managers and community specialists is to help our residents stay connected to services within the community that they’ve come from … For Plymouth Crossing, we are taking action to be able to receive referrals from both CFH and The Sophia Way (TSW), and as many other eastside partners as possible.” 
A: “We follow the same guidelines for subsidized housing eligibility as the King County Housing Authority. More specifically, our residents’ incomes must be less than 30% of the area median income (AMI) — which is currently $27,200 for a single adult. Most of our residents receive social security income, which is somewhere in the vicinity of $10,000 or under, which is less than half of the 30% AMI threshold. 
All our residents are single adults who have come directly from homelessness into our housing, and they also need to be either 55 or older or have a disability. Anyone who moves into our housing must be a U.S. citizen and have a social security number on file. They also undergo criminal background checks including credit checks, rental history checks, and lifetime sex offender registration checks.”
“When someone moves into Plymouth Housing, they sign a lease, become a tenant of our property, and can live in their home permanently. Residents live in our buildings anywhere from a few months to many years. With a shelter or other similar program, residents in most cases do not sign leases or have the kind of landlord-tenant rights that PSH residents do. PSH differs from adult family homes and skilled nursing facilities as well in that our tenants are expected to be able to live independently. While we offer opportunities for residents to engage in additional services, they are not compulsory.” 
“When someone moves into one of our buildings, they are agreeing to a number of building rules, such as not having weapons on-site. We also ask residents to use our guest sign-in and-out systems, so we are aware of who is coming into the property. Residents are expected to keep up their apartments as well, and we do monthly health and safety inspections to check in with folks.”
“Nearly all of our residents live with a disability and may not be able to enter the workforce in the way that many non-disabled people can. In addition, market-rate housing is not affordable for many people in our region, including those with regular employment. Our goal as an organization is to ensure that our residents stay housed and never return to living on the streets, and we have a 97% success rate doing so.” 

“We start by providing entry into housing using a low-barrier model. Achieving abstinence while you're in survival mode on the streets can be extremely challenging, and for many of our residents, having a place to call home is the first step to their recovery. Our staff are adept at creating an environment that feels inviting — a place where there's a sense of community and people feel like they belong and have value. Healthy, reciprocal relationships allow our housing case managers and behavioral health providers to collaborate more effectively with residents to evaluate and address their substance use. This might include looking at how they're using, what they're using, the consequences, and their goals around it. In working with residents through a trauma-informed lens, our teams develop shared care plans with shared goals. 

Recognizing that relapse is a reality of the recovery process, our staff support residents when they experience setbacks and help them get back on a path of recovery in a non shameful way. We want residents to feel they can talk to staff when they are struggling, so we can help them. While this model might not resonate for every single resident, a permanent supportive environment supports recovery efforts much more compared to conditions living on the streets. Our model gives people a greater chance at stopping their abuse, and it's an amazing effort by our housing case managers, behavioral health partners, and even the community.”

“It’s important to note that not all of our residents are using substances or have a diagnosable substance use disorder. For people who are and who are wanting to change their use, our method is to provide housing first. This means focusing on creating conditions that promote stability and safety so people can progress to other levels of well being, and doing it in a way that respects their self-determination and recognizes that they have power to make choices about their environment, relationships, and future. In this model, we work to reduce the harm associated with an individual’s substance use, but we do not supervise drug use the way a safe injection site might for someone who is injecting opioids such as heroin, which is usually done under medical supervision.

For Plymouth, staying housed is independent of someone's recovery status, which is different from a halfway house where abstinence is a requirement. Residents have access to a full range of clinical, social, medical, and non-medical services through our providers, as well as case managers who are available day after day. Case managers proactively engage residents to increase their internal motivation for change, reduce harm related to use, or help people discontinue or reduce their use. Our approach also differs from a wet house, which is a shelter where people can drink but often without the support services described above.” 

Access the full FAQ document here.