King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove
Our region is an active and ever-changing place. My goal as South King County’s representative is to center equity and community in everything I do. By working hand-in-hand with local community leaders and my constituents, together we can help increase justice and opportunity for all and ensure South King County lives up to its potential to be a great place to live and work.
I value the input I receive and hope you’ll reach out with any concerns.
At this week’s King County Council meeting, I joined my colleagues in expressing our support for the people of Ukraine and the over 20,000 members of the local Ukrainian community as their country is invaded by Vladimir Putin. We have a moral responsibility to support democratic self-governance and freedom and I stand with the Ukrainian community at this heartbreaking time. You can read the full proclamation here
Health Through Housing
Whether like me, you believe housing is a human right or whether you are simply frustrated with unhoused individuals living on the sidewalk in front of your business, one thing we all agree on:
It is in our interest to get homeless individuals off the street and into housing with support – it’s the right thing to do.
By passing the Health through Housing Implementation Plan, the Council finalized our plans to establish 1,600 units of emergency and permanent supportive housing for King County residents who are experiencing chronic homelessness. Using existing housing – unused hotels and nursing homes that we could rapidly purchase – we are able to quickly get folks off the streets and into a safe, warm unit with the supportive services they need to turn their lives around. This is one of the most exciting and bold initiatives in this region and I think it is going to be effective.
2021 MLK Medal: Barbara Drennen – District 5
King County Adds New Community-Centered Approach to its Rental Assistance Program
In our most recent rounding of funding to help our community through the pandemic, King County will provide $45 million in rental assistance with another $100 million to follow soon.
The new rounds of funding will include a modified approach to funds distribution, adding a new community-centered approach that ensures those closest to individuals in need can provide assistance.
Under a new “hub-and-spoke” approach developed in consultation with community leaders, larger organizations (the “hubs”) will be able to work with smaller organizations (the “spokes”) to drive rental assistance dollars out to community members.
“We not only will be able to serve and target those tenants most impacted by COVID and historically have been most discriminated against in housing, but by doing so I think we will strengthen those communities themselves and build capacity and political strength and the ability to better serve the community.” King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove.
These funds increase the County’s commitment to keeping people housed during this pandemic to more than $90 million. An additional $100 million is expected to become available in late spring from the American Rescue Plan. As part of the new approach supported by Councilmember Upthegrove, the County will also establish an eviction prevention and rental assistance advisory committee comprised of representatives from the African-American, Native American and Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latinx, immigrant and refugee, disability and LGBTQI+ communities. This committee will provide recommendations to the County about the use of the future rental assistance funds.
Learn more about the County’s new community approach to rental assistance:
King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program
King County Council Provides $2 million for Gun Violence Prevention
The King County Council recently provided $2 million for grants to community-based organizations to work with youth to prevent gun violence. This funding is especially important now as we see gun violence on the rise during the pandemic and support our other efforts to recognize gun violence as a public health crisis.
“I believe this Council needs to do everything in our power to protect and save the lives of young people both here in South King County and around the County. We need to stop the killing.” Councilmember Dave Upthegrove
I want to thank all of you who have continued to follow public health guidelines to keep yourselves and the rest of our community safe through the COVID-19 pandemic.
South King County has been hard hit, but I am proud of our community for continuing to frequently wash their hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart and avoid group gatherings.
Protecting public health and safety—particularly among seniors and vulnerable populations—is my top priority as your County Councilmember during this pandemic.
As Washington receives vaccine doses, County public health departments will be helping the State with equitable distribution.
We are working to get the vaccine out to everyone who wants one as quickly as we can.
That's why King County has stepped up to enhance the state and federal efforts by providing $7 million to help fund increased access and make it easier and faster for everyone to get the vaccine once supplies become available.
These County funds are being used for two high volume vaccination sites in South King County, including one at the Showare Arena in Kent, and five mobile strike teams to reach those who can't get to a doctor or vaccination site. The mobile strike teams are already visiting adult family homes and I was pleased to join them on a recent site visit in Kent.
The County provided this funding to help ensure that those who are historically overlooked when it comes to access to health care and are right now being hit hardest by the virus can quickly get a vaccine.
In the coming weeks, each high-volume vaccination site will be able to offer 500-1200 free vaccinations every day, provided that we are able to get the supplies of vaccine we need.
Remember, not everyone is currently eligible for the vaccine, but the State has just updated eligibility to include those who are aged 65 and older, and those aged 50 and older if they live in a household where two or more generations live (such as an elder and a grandchild) and meets additional specific qualifications.
As we look ahead to the task of building back our economy and our community, we know that the vaccine is the first step. I encourage you to join me at my Town Hall on Vaccines on Wednesday, February 3rd from 6:00pm-7:00pm (more information below.)
For information about the COVID-19 vaccines, please visit:
For information about getting vaccinated, please visit:
Health through Housing
Click on the image to view the video.
We did it!
Today at the King County Council, we voted to provide housing and supportive services to those who find themselves chronically homeless by passing the Health through Housing proposal.
I sponsored and championed this proposal because I believe working regionally to provide the most housing to those most in need is the smartest approach.
Although the Council took the vote, it was the voices of the community - the commitment and compassion of all of you - that made this a true success.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet with advocates and faith leaders, constituents and neighbors.
And what I heard was compelling and inspiring.
I heard you speak compassionately about the homeless you serve and how this plan will make a real difference in their lives.
I heard the request to “put this in my backyard” instead of a rejection of those who are less fortunate than we may be.
And I was struck by the desire of all of you to get involved in the process, to take the time to email your support or testify before the Council.
Your compassion and commitment helped ensure this plan was adopted.
Together we will provide a better future for those who don’t have a roof over their head.
And by doing so, we will build a better community for all.