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King County Biennial Budget Creates a Path to Stability For People Experiencing Homelessness

Summary

This is the first biennial budget adopted since Council Chair Joe McDermott joined with County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to declare a State of Emergency on homelessness last year.

Story

The Metropolitan King County Council upheld the County’s commitment to addressing the crisis of homelessness in our region by passing the County’s 2017-2018 Biennial Budget today. This is the first biennial budget adopted since Council Chair Joe McDermott joined with County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to declare a State of Emergency on homelessness last year.

“This budget creates opportunities for young people, families, and adults who are currently living outside to move to a warm and secure place indoors,” said McDermott. “When everyone has a safe, stable, and permanent place to call home, our communities become stronger and better connected.”

The 2017-2018 biennial budget includes a number of efforts that will put people experiencing homelessness on a path to greater stability and permanent housing:

• Expands emergency shelters and ensures access to resources that can get people connected to housing, health care, and other vital services.

• Supports efforts to help people get and maintain housing, including veterans and those facing possible eviction.

• Makes bus tickets more affordable for service organizations to purchase and distribute to clients; this means it’ll be easier for people to get to work, appointments, and school.

This budget dedicates resources to provide shelter and services to people experiencing homelessness both in urban and rural area, including $1 million for services outside of Seattle. The shelter proposed for White Center would be eligible for these funds in order to ensure that a full range of services are made available to those in need. An additional $2.5 million would go to providing shelter or housing services at Harborview Hall.

Homelessness is growing across the county, and is present in every community. The 2016 One Night County found that the number of people in transitional housing, shelters, and who were unhoused grew to 10, 688 people in 2016, up from 10,047 in 2015. Of these people, 3,772 people were unsheltered, representing an increase of 19% compared to the previous year. The One Night Count also found the number of people experiencing homelessness grew in nearly every included community.
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206-477-1000
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206-296-1024
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206-296-0198