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Regarding City of Seattle funding for the proposed enhanced shelter to be operated by Africatown at the former Keiro Nursing Home site

The Keiro front gate on September 19. Photo: David Yamaguchi

Good afternoon Mr. Mundt:

I’m writing today regarding City of Seattle funding for the proposed enhanced shelter to be operated by Africatown at the former Keiro Nursing Home site.  I’m dismayed to learn that the City of Seattle, waving honest democratic budget practices and under the guise of COVID-19 restrictions, has decided to fund an organization to operate a homeless shelter that has no experience operating a homeless shelter. Even organizations with experience operating homeless shelters are finding it difficult to manage their operations under the current conditions. We only need to look at the failed Navigation Center as an example.

In addition, the City is encouraging this much needed program that will be tailored to meet the specific cultural needs of the black community, even though this proposed shelter is to be located in the midst of a traditional Asian and Japanese community which was lived and owned property there since the early 1900’s.  A community where 30% of its residences were incarcerated without due process in 1942. A community with many Asian churches, a long-standing Japanese Martial arts center, and many other social and Asian cultural programs.  Also an unaddressed great concern for the safety of over 250 Senior residents of Midori, Wisteria and Kawabe housing in the neighborhood.  Why is the City pitting one community of color against another rather than promoting unity, cooperation and joint governance, program and property ownership?

The City also hired people to promote this program by using terms such as “inclusive” while in the same breathe saying don’t fight it because it’s a “done deal.”  So much for requested honest community feedback

Members of the Japanese and Asian Community would like an explanation of why Africatown, an organization with no experience whatsoever running a homeless shelter, was chosen to operate this homeless shelter in our neighborhood, South of the Canal, with a sole source contract and without an RFP process?

Given the importance of this land to the Japanese and Asian community, we would also like to understand why we were not consulted initially on this possible agreement and what the City hopes to accomplish by excluding the Asian community from the planning and decision-making process.

Many Japanese lost their homes and property on this block in WW II, but this is still our important community. Therefore, we want to have a say in the future development of the Keiro Nursing home property and surrounding area.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Tomio Moriguchi

CC: Washington State Senator Bob Hasegawa, Washington State Representative Sharon Tomiko-Santos, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin, Seattle City Council Members,  Candidate for Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell.

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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.