King County, Seattle and Auburn announce homelessness actions, chart course for One Table
King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan of Seattle, and Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus announced immediate steps to tackle the region’s homelessness crisis by providing more emergency shelter, behavioral health services, and affordable housing. The three co-chairs of One Table also affirmed ongoing work to tackle the root causes of homelessness.
To truly make a difference in the region’s homelessness crisis, government, businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropy must work together to reverse the growing trend of people who lose stable housing every year.
King County, the City of Seattle, and the City of Auburn announced a series of actions that will make a difference in our communities, and boost the One Table effort.
“Thanks to One Table members and all those who contribute to this regional effort, we have a deeper understanding of the root causes of homelessness, and how we can make the most impact,” said Executive Constantine. “We are making a down payment now, and we must come together to do even more to find creative new solutions and provide resources to help those currently living on the streets and in tents attain stable and secure housing, and the opportunity for a fulfilling life.”
“The work that has been done so far is a testament to the dedication by all to address this crisis,” said Mayor Backus. “I want to express my gratitude to everyone that has been working with us and I hope you’ll stay with us – no one can do this alone. We owe it to all of our residents to provide a safe, healthy, livable and vibrant community and the continuation of this coordinated approach is one way to ensure that for all. Auburn will adapt the One Table strategies to our unique community. I’m pleased that the solutions provided offer flexibility and scalability. Every city has a different social fabric of available resources and needs and I am eager to move this into action so we can make more positive progress.”
“With so many people living in our region unsheltered in inhumane, dangerous conditions, we must act quickly to move people into safer places where they can access services. We all have to contribute to solutions to this crisis and attack its many complex causes,” said Mayor Durkan.
“By bringing together local officials, businesses, faith leaders, and philanthropy, we will continue to work to combat the root causes of homelessness and craft more coordinated solutions to this regional crisis. We know we need more affordable housing, safer shelter and more accessible mental health and addiction services. In the coming weeks, Mayor Backus and I will be working together to convene Mayors in our region to discuss additional solutions.”
City of Auburn
Mayor Backus is excited to incorporate the work of One Table into Auburn’s Homeless Task Force action plan. She has already directed staff to continue to educate the city council on options and implications so that Auburn can continue to implement measures locally that can aid in the regional response to the homeless crisis as it pertains to both the elimination and prevention of homelessness. Auburn’s current plan has made great strides in the crisis response by opening the Ray of Hope Resource Center and the Sundown Overnight Shelter in partnership with two local non-profits and it is yielding positive results. The addition of root cause prevention will be welcomed components of the work.
Auburn’s Homeless Task Force action plan called for new ways of addressing the growing crisis and Mayor Backus has combined City resources to coordinate the response. Currently, the police department, code enforcement, animal control, parks department and real estate services work together on their individual calls so that all aspects of the response to those in need can be directed to the services to best change the situations they encounter in the field in order to ensure that people are not at risk of falling through the cracks.
Auburn is proud to have many initiatives already underway that prevent homelessness: minor housing repair program for low income residents that completes nearly 100 projects annually to keep vulnerable people housed, safe and stable; the Safe Auburn For Every Resident (SAFER) program which partners with multifamily property owners to promote healthy housing and safe communities that has included participation by more than 400 multifamily properties within the City; City Council adoption of strong housing preservation policies that help take advantage of our existing housing stock to continue to contribute to homelessness prevention and safe and healthy housing.
In concert with the strategic regional workforce developments underway, Mayor Backus, Pacific Mayor Leanne Guier and Algona Mayor Dave Hill will be convening a South King County task force to work with area school districts, colleges and the trades to create a comprehensive approach for connecting providers of training and employers. This will be focused on jobs and industries that have a sustainable supply of living wage jobs.
Auburn will increase advocacy at the State and Federal level for funding and support of affordable housing, homeless response and behavioral health access. Auburn City Councilmember Claude DaCorsi was appointed by Governor Inslee to the Washington State Affordable Housing Advisory Board; City Councilmember Yolanda Trout-Manuel is a member of the National League of Cities Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee; and Mayor Backus is a member of the South Sound Behavioral Health Coalition. Auburn will leverage these positions to ensure the voices of King County are heard as we seek to respond to and prevent homelessness in our region.
As a board member of the SCORE jail facility, Mayor Backus will advocate for the continuation of the facility’s drug treatment program and post-release treatment programs and also work with the board to decrease and possibly eliminate exits into homelessness.
The City of Auburn continues to explore tenant protections and fair housing initiatives. In 2017, the Auburn City Council passed a source of income discrimination ordinance and Mayor Backus will work with the City Council on further legislation that can prevent families and individuals from falling into homelessness.
Auburn is supportive of and actively involved with a formal creation of a South King County Regional Housing Coalition and will work with stakeholders as the coalition develops.
Auburn has doubled its efforts in regards to internal training of all city staff on equity and social justice, institutional racism and implicit bias and will continue to implement programs for staff and hiring practices.
City of Seattle
On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to approve Mayor Durkan’s legislation to increase the number of bridge housing and shelter units by 25 percent to serve more than 500 additional people every night. The Mayor’s plan will help people experiencing homelessness move into safer places where they are more likely to access services.
Currently, Seattle has 2,032 shelter spaces, which are 93% full each night. Under Mayor Durkan’s legislation, the City of Seattle will serve 500 more people every night through a range of options, including expanding and creating shelter capacity, creating a new space of bridge housing through a master lease, and supporting tiny home villages.
Under Mayor Durkan’s leadership, Seattle is also furthering its commitment to more permanent affordable housing. Last December, Mayor Durkan announced more than $300 million in new homes to remain affordable for 50 years in Seattle with approximately $100 million in city resources leveraging $200 million from state, federal and private sources. This year, new investments in affordable homes are expected to total about $200 million when leveraged by other sources. From 2018 to 2021, approximately 2,500 new City-funded affordable rental housing units and over 1,900 new Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) affordable units will come online.
Executive Constantine proposes to bond against future hotel-motel tax revenues to generate an additional $100 million that could be made available to build housing units for people earning between 30 percent and 80 percent of Area Median Income, with a likely focus on 30-60 percent of AMI. Working with the King County Council and stakeholders to develop successful models, the Executive proposes to maximize the impact of these funds by incentivizing the fast delivery of units, municipal building codes that encourage housing, and partnerships that deliver complementary services.
The first phase of bonding, proposed by the Executive and approved by the King County Council in 2016, generated about $87 million in revenue which is projected to fund roughly 1,700 preserved and new units. To date, 1,041 have already been preserved or will be under construction this year or next. The total number of units will depend on the level of affordability, whether the housing is preserved or new, and location.
Executive Constantine also proposes to use unspent Mental Illness and Drug Dependency revenues, a countywide program funded by a 0.1 percent sales tax that generates about $134 million per biennium. The funds would be used for peer respite care for people in behavioral health crisis; increased access to medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction; a pilot program to provide on-site, behavioral health services in people’s homes or transitional shelter; and the expansion of the successful LEAD program to other cities in King County.
Executive Constantine, in partnership with King County Council, will work to open a shelter in Harborview Hall that will provide up to 100 beds. In addition, Executive Constantine has committed $500,000 to support Seattle’s Navigation Team, which connects unsheltered individuals with existing services and shelter.
One Table timeline and next steps
On Dec. 1, 2017, Executive Constantine, Mayor Durkan and Mayor Backus announced One Table, a regional effort to bring together leaders from the business, nonprofit, philanthropic, faith, government, and community sectors to create solutions to prevent homelessness.
One Table participants were charged with addressing the root causes of homelessness through broad, scalable, multi-sectored community actions that harness community resources.
Beginning in January, One Table members worked together to develop specific recommendations regarding five root causes of the crisis, including: the lack of affordable housing region-wide; inadequate access to behavioral health treatment; negative impacts on youth involved in the child-welfare system; prior criminal justice involvement impacting the ability to gain housing and employment, and education and employment gaps making housing unattainable and unaffordable.
In May, Executive Constantine and Mayor Durkan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Seattle and King County to increase collaboration of homelessness services and set a path for governance reforms to better coordinate homeless investments region-wide.
The next phase of this regional effort focuses on implementing short and long-term actions, creating a new governance structure, and securing revenues sufficient to meet the needs.
The actions announced today by King County, Seattle and Auburn represent a down payment on future investments.
A meeting of One Table members will be called next month.
- One Table: Affordable Housing
- One Table: Behavioral Health
- One Table: Criminal Justice
- One Table: Child Welfare
- One Table: Employment
- One Table: Equity and Social Justice
- One Table: Priority Actions
- One Table: Background
Thanks to One Table members and all those who contribute to this regional effort, we have a deeper understanding of the root causes of homelessness, and how we can make the most impact. We are making a down payment now, and we must come together to do even more to find creative new solutions and provide resources to help those currently living on the streets and in tents attain stable and secure housing, and the opportunity for a fulfilling life.
The work that has been done so far is a testament to the dedication by all to address this crisis. I want to express my gratitude to everyone that has been working with us and I hope you’ll stay with us – no one can do this alone. We owe it to all of our residents to provide a safe, healthy, livable and vibrant community and the continuation of this coordinated approach is one way to ensure that for all. Auburn will adapt the One Table strategies to our unique community. I’m pleased that the solutions provided offer flexibility and scalability. Every city has a different social fabric of available resources and needs and I am eager to move this into action so we can make more positive progress.
With so many people living in our region unsheltered in inhumane, dangerous conditions, we must act quickly to move people into safer places where they can access services. We all have to contribute to solutions to this crisis and attack its many complex causes. By bringing together local officials, businesses, faith leaders, and philanthropy, we will continue to work to combat the root causes of homelessness and craft more coordinated solutions to this regional crisis. We know we need more affordable housing, safer shelter and more accessible mental health and addiction services. In the coming weeks, Mayor Backus and I will be working together to convene Mayors in our region to discuss additional solutions.