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Protesters camp outside King County building, seek funding for homeless shelters

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SEATTLE -- Dozens of people are camped outside the King County administration building after nearly 15 homeless shelters managed by SHARE closed their doors Thursday. Supporters are blaming King County for defunding the program last year.

SHARE, which stands for Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, is a nonprofit organization that manages shelters under city and county contracts.

“I pray King County will reconsider to keep them open; these shelters need to be open,” said Linda Soriano, a SHARE supporter.

SHARE managers say it's their last attempt to get county leaders to listen.

“Due to massive funding deficit, we are flat broke,” said SHARE board member Jarvis Capucion.

King County's Community and Human Services Department tells Q13 News that several agencies competed for funds for 2015/2016, and it simply couldn't award all. It says SHARE didn't meet its criteria, but SHARE’s leaders say that doesn’t add up.

“4,500 people are without shelter on any given night and you are going to defund the largest, most cost-effective shelter in Seattle and King County? That just doesn't make sense,” said Capucion.

SHARE does have a contract with the city of Seattle to provide 249 beds a night. At this point, SHARE leaders say it is so behind on bills, it can't fulfill that contract. They hope with the county's help, it will be able to get back on its feet.

The county is allowing protesters to camp out at its administration building as long as they're peaceful.