Editor's note: The above video was published earlier this month.
The Seattle City Council has approved the creation of a Regional Homelessness Authority, which will combine resources from King County and the city to be spread through the county.
The agency will begin with a $132 million budget. Almost $57 million in funding would come from King County and $75 million would come from the city of Seattle.
Last week, the King County Council approved the proposal. The Seattle City Council approved the proposal on Monday.
The approved legislation comes after months of discussions between the county and the city, and as the issues of unauthorized encampments have stretched into neighboring suburbs, like Auburn and Kent.
The legislation has key differences from what was originally proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Jenny Durkan. The latest version of the proposal gives “the agency more direct accountability to elected leaders and gives other cities more representation.”
“Today marks a new chapter in how we as a region respond to homelessness by ending our fractured approach and replacing it with a consolidated regional authority that will provide cost efficiencies and cost effectiveness in responding to our homelessness crisis,” said King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles.
No new taxpayer funds are being expended as a result of this legislation, according to Kohl-Welles.
Three bodies would oversee the King County Regional Homelessness Authority:
A 12-member Governing Committee would be made up of representatives from King County, Seattle, the Sound Cities Association, and three people representing “lived experience.” The committee would approve and amend all plans and budgets governing the authority, confirm members of an Implementation Board, and approval the authority’s organizational structure. The Governing Committee can also fire the authority’s CEO.
The 13-member Implementation Board would oversee operations and be responsible for proposing the authority’s plans and budgets. The board would have six months to develop a plan that includes an organizational structure and “implantation of contracted homeless services.”
An Advisory Committee would also be created to perform the functions of the mandatory Federal Continuum of Care board.
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan will sign off on the authority on Wednesday.
Washington state saw an overall drop this year in the number of homeless individuals from 2018, according to survey results released earlier this year by the Washington State Department of Commerce.
Volunteers did a one-night count in January and recorded 21,621 homeless, which was a drop of about 3.1%.
The biggest gains were made with unsheltered individuals, which includes people sleeping outside, in cars, or parks. That population dropped by 1,022 people or 9.6%, according to the survey. Sheltered individuals, which includes those in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or in hotels and motels, grew by 322 people.