Several Venezuelan migrants staying at a Kent hotel ask the Seattle City Council Jan. 30 for funds so they are not evicted. Screenshot via Seattle City Council

Several Venezuelan migrants staying at a Kent hotel ask the Seattle City Council Jan. 30 for funds so they are not evicted. Screenshot via Seattle City Council

Seattle church’s donation to cover asylum seekers bill at Kent hotel

Group to remain at Kent Quality Inn for two more weeks

An additional $60,000 donation from another faith organization will allow about 250 asylum seekers to remain at the Kent Quality Inn for two more weeks.

The asylum seekers, mainly from Venezuela, faced a March 19 eviction, according to a March 18 phone call to the Kent Reporter from King County Councilmember Sarah Perry. But Perry said a donation from a Seattle church will cover the costs for two more weeks.

“I am really thrilled to share that the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Seattle and its leadership, at the request of Rev. Kelle Brown, has agreed to pay,” Perry said.

In early March, a $60,000 donation from the Redmond-based Muslim Association of Puget Sound covered the costs at the Kent Quality Inn, 1711 W. Meeker St.

Perry became involved in the issue after about 50 asylum seekers showed up at a King County Council Health and Human Services Committee meeting on March 5 at the King County Courthouse in Seattle to request help with paying for housing at the hotel or face eviction.

Perry, whose District 3 includes Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish, Woodinville and other cities, made some calls after that meeting to find donations to allow the asylum seekers to stay at the hotel.

“I am just so amazed at the generosity of our faith community,” Perry said.

The additional two weeks will allow the asylum seekers to stay long enough until funding for housing is expected to come from nonprofits working with King County.

The county announced last month another $1 million grant to nonprofits to provide temporary housing, food, support and legal services to asylum seekers, specifically those that have come through the Riverton United Methodist Church in Tukwila, and are living in or near Tukwila.

To qualify for a grant, nonprofits must be in South King County and be able to mitigate the negative impacts of living unsheltered, such as with day centers, hygiene services, sanctioned encampments and shelter, according to a county media release.

Perry said a county decision on which nonprofits will receive funds is expected to be announced April 1.

The Venezuelan migrants traveled to the United States to seek asylum. They emigrated due to ongoing economic and political turmoil, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. The group first stayed at the Riverton United Methodist Church, but moved to the Kent hotel in January after the church became overcrowded and a nonprofit initially paid for them to stay in Kent.

Perry said many people who cross into the United States end up in Washington state because it is a sanctuary state, meaning it supports undocumented immigrants.

The asylum seekers in January showed up at a Seattle City Council meeting asking for money to remain at the Kent Quality Inn after the hotel owner said their bill needed to be paid. The city of Seattle covered hotel costs for a couple of weeks at SeaTac hotels from $200,000 allocated by the Seattle City Council to the city’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

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