Executive Constantine’s Top 21 Accomplishments in 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, let's think back a year. Four years of division and chaos in Washington D.C. seemed to be drawing to an end. New vaccines gave hope that the darkest days of the pandemic would soon be behind us. There was a palpable sense of optimism. And yet, our challenges were, and are, far from over.
The pandemic waxes and wanes but shows no sign of ending quite yet. We are, however, getting better and better at managing through it. With the continued fallout from the insurrection at the Capitol, political dividing lines feel deeper than ever. But, despite these extraordinary circumstances and more, I'm pleased to be able to highlight some of the remarkable achievements made possible by the hard work of this community, and to be reminded what's possible when we work together.
Last year at this time we were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to sign up for the brand new COVID-19 vaccines and had just begun vaccinating our most vulnerable populations toward the end of December. Today, 85% of our residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated, with thousands of booster doses being administered every day. And because we built an equitable vaccination strategy, we have a higher than 70% vaccination rate across every racial and age group. All of this is thanks to the tireless work of Public Health and our community partners.
We implemented innovative solutions to chronic homelessness with Health Through Housing. The program quickly went from an idea born of the COVID emergency, to legislative changes at the state and county levels, to our purchase of eight properties and 850 emergency housing units - providing rest, security, and dignity for those experiencing chronic homelessness.
We welcomed trusted community leaders to guide the way on our anti-racism work in response to declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis in 2020. We announced a multi-faceted strategic plan, and a suite of bold steps to combat the greatest threat we have ever faced - climate change - by cutting greenhouse emissions in half in the next five years.
These accomplishments are possible only through the hard work of thousands of public servants and community partners in the non-profit and private sectors. The work is challenging. Daunting. But building fundamental change is the only way we can meet the unprecedented moment before us.
As we consider this list of 21 accomplishments for 2021, let's remember to give grace to ourselves and others as we prepare to enter the third year of this pandemic. Let us be grateful for what we, together, have been able to achieve this past year, and join in looking forward to even greater accomplishments in the new year.
King County Executive