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Regional Homelessness Agency faces key King County vote — and questions about Seattle’s power in the new authority

Seattle’s hopes for leading a regional approach to homelessness solutions could move forward Thursday with a key King County Council vote.

Thursday, the County Council’s Regional Policy committee is scheduled to vote on a $132 million plan that would create a new Regional Homelessness Agency bringing together elected officials from cities across the county to “administer and oversee regional homelessness efforts.”


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Under initial plans, King County would dedicate about $55 million in service and administrative funding and $1.8 million to support start-up of the new authority. Seattle would add approximately $73 million for services and administrative funding, and up to $2 million for launch costs.

But concern over how the plan up for approval Thursday would distribute power to the agency’s members could push some of the planning back to the drawing board. The latest updates to the plan “gives more power to suburban cities that won’t be contributing financially to the new authority—and whose homelessness policies may differ sharply from King County’s or Seattle’s,” the C is for Crank news site reports.

Seattle City Council Insight reports that the Seattle City Council might need more time to approve its side of the new agency — and that time is running out if a plan is to be put in place before the end of the year with the final council sessions of 2019 coming Monday, December 16th.

The city’s Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability co-chaired by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant is slated to meet Thursday afternoon following the County Council committee vote.

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9 thoughts on “Regional Homelessness Agency faces key King County vote — and questions about Seattle’s power in the new authority

  1. Sound Cities Association would appoint members to the board under this new plan. SCA has a one city, one vote approach to policy-setting, and appointees are bound by their policies. So your grumpy suburban mayors and council members from Mercer Island and Algona would be setting policies for Seattle’s homeless funding. Truly a terrible idea and the opposite of the original plan to insulate this entity from the political whims.

    • If only your description were true. I would love to see a little more wisdom from outside Seattle applied to homelessness. Alas, as Brian noted below, Seattle has much to say under this new construct.

      And how much grumpier than Sawant could suburban mayors be?

  2. This must be a regional solution to prevent homeless from drifting to the areas with the most services. This plan has serious flaws that I hope will be addressed, but the perfect is the enemy of the good. This is a long needed beginning.

  3. Just to clarify, the Regional Homeless Authority will have 12 members on its governing committee:
    + 3x Seattle Reps (Mayor, 2x SCC)
    + 3x King County Reps (Executive, 2x KCC)
    + 3x SCA Reps
    + 3x Lived Experience Reps

    This gives Seattle as much governing representation as *all* the other KC cities/towns combined.

    Quick note to Justin: what’s being established here is an “Authority”, i.e. the right to use the power of the government, and not the creation of an “Agency”.

  4. This is some slipshod reporting. You write:

    “But concern over how the plan up for approval Thursday would distribute power to the agency’s members could push some of the planning back to the drawing board. The latest updates to the plan “gives more power to suburban cities that won’t be contributing financially to the new authority—and whose homelessness policies may differ sharply from King County’s or Seattle’s,” the C is for Crank news site reports.”

    That information a taken from ECB’s blog, which includes a quote from a homelessness activist:

    “While that discussion was going on, the union that represents staffers for the city’s Homelessness Investment and Strategy division, PROTEC17, was also getting up to speed. On Monday, PROTEC17 union rep Shaun van Eyk sent an email urging HSI staffers to flag concerns about the new proposal at upcoming meetings of the county’s Regional Policy Committee, the King County Council, and the Seattle City Council. “Each one of these hearings are opportunities to comment and/or attempt to delay this move,” van Eyk wrote.”

    Which is essentially a very one-sided view by someone with a clear investment in making sure that Seattle’s approach and funding remain status quo.

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