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News Release

Chief Seattle Club

Chief Seattle Club, a national leader in urban Indian services, opened 80 units of housing yesterday at ?ál?al in Pioneer Square.

The units will be available for individuals and families making below 50% of area median income in King County, or $40,500. All of the units are designated for homeless households, with 10 units for veterans. Sixteen of the units are designated as double occupancy.

“Some of our Chief Seattle Club members have not had a permanent place to call home for more than a decade,” said Derrick Belgarde (Siletz/Chippewa-Cree), executive director of Chief Seattle Club. “?ál?al is their first real home in a long time. It’s a place to live and practice their culture, to sing and bead, and gather together with other Native people.” 

Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up approximately 1% of King County's population, but comprise 32% of its chronically homeless population.

“Centuries of policy forced Native people from their homelands and into cities,” said Belgarde. “The crisis of Native homelessness is the result of U.S. policy. It’s a crisis that needs to be addressed with culturally-appropriate solutions. The data is clear, rates of long-term success are higher when people are served by members of their own community.”

In 2020, Chief Seattle Club served members of more than 200 different tribes.

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Maurro Romero, a Chief Seattle Club member and tenant of ?ál?al, shared their experience of moving into one of the new units.

“It gives me a chance to dream again and to believe in myself,” said Romero. “[it’s] a new beginning and a new adventure, a place where you are accepted for who you are.”

“?ál?al is on Native land,” said Belgarde. “To have this place restored to Native people is really powerful.”

“We celebrate this opening, but there’s more to be done,” he said. “We need a diversity of housing options to meet the need, including permanent supportive housing, light support, affordable units for families and singles, and transitional housing.”

“Our relatives on the street are living in survival mode,” said Belgarde. “We need housing to help people find stability. Once they have that, we can bring them ceremony and they can begin to heal. These breakthroughs are possible when people are safe and housed.” 

About ?ál?al

  • 80 units, 96 residents
  • Seattle Indian Health Board will operate a 2,600-square-foot clinic inside the building with six exam rooms, a traditional healing space, two talking rooms, a pharmacy, and staffing offices. They will provide medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health, and traditional medicine services.
  • ?ál?al Café will serve traditional foods and feature on-the-go lunch items sourced from Native businesses, as well as teas and coffee from Native roasters. The 1,228-square-foot café will feature permanent and rotating art from Native artists.
  • 65 locations in building will feature artwork by 35 Native artists
    • Exterior design will include Welcome Figure (pole designed by Andrea Wilbur Sigo, Squaxin Island Tribe) & brickwork featuring Salish patterns
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