SEATTLE — King County Executive Dow Constantine focused on homelessness, public safety and behavioral health in his annual "State of the County" address in Seattle on Tuesday.
Constantine, who is in his fourth term as King County Executive, began by thanking King County Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Joe McDermott, both of whom have announced they won't seek re-election after their terms expire.
On the topic of homelessness, Constantine lauded his efforts to launch Health through Housing two years ago, which has helped provide shelter to nearly 600 formerly unhoused people.
Constantine also mentioned ongoing efforts to move people from encampments along the Green River into housing.
"It’s strong progress — but it’s just the beginning. These folks aren’t just getting shelter. They’re getting the security of a home, a bed to return to at night; a launch pad to begin a new chapter," Constantine said.
The King County Sheriff's Office will begin deploying body-worn and dash cameras in the next few weeks, which Constantine calls a "critical tool of transparency and objectivity for the communities we serve."
KCSO also has added more than 55 new deputies this year, and Constantine emphasized the struggle to combat fentanyl overdoses in King County continues.
"Let there be no mistake: through all these accomplishments, we are making King County safer, and more just, today than it was a year ago. And we will work every day so that we can say the same next year," Constantine said.
Constantine also advocated for the Crisis Care Centers levy, which would fund creation of five regional crisis care centers and help provide immediate services while those centers are built.
The $1.25 billion levy will be voted on in a special April election, and would be funded through a property tax levy spread out over 9 years. In 2024, the levy would cost the owner of a median-valued home about $121, according to the county website.