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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County's first Best Starts for Kids strategy will prevent youth and families from becoming homeless

Summary

Executive Constantine launched the first strategy funded by Best Starts for Kids, an initiative that will prevent youth and families from becoming homeless. He also announced $41 million in funding to increase the inventory for affordable housing, including housing located near major transit centers.

Story

Best Starts for Kids logo

King County Executive Dow Constantine today launched the first strategy funded by Best Starts for Kids, an initiative that will prevent youth and families from becoming homeless.

The initiative will help families that are on the verge of being homeless by addressing their specific needs, such as clothes for a job interview or help with the first month’s rent. The individualized approach is based on a highly successful pilot project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We are ready to deliver on the commitment I made to the people of King County that we will help put every child and youth in our region on a path toward lifelong success," said Executive Constantine. "The very first prevention strategy funded by Best Starts for Kids will ensure that more children and families have a safe, healthy and warm place to live, following through on our promise to invest in what works."

He also announced $41 million in funding that will increase the inventory of affordable housing, including transit-oriented development. Many units will be reserved for military veterans who are homeless, people who suffer mental illness and people who have disabilities.

A successful model that focuses on the individual needs of families

The Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative is the first strategy funded by Best Starts for Kids, a six-year levy that will generate nearly $400 million for initiatives that promote healthier, more resilient children, youth and communities. It includes $19 million to prevent homelessness, starting now with $4 million awarded to 27 community-based nonprofit organizations that successfully competed for levy funds.

In the pilot project that the initiative is modeled after, 96 percent of participants still had housing 18 months after they entered the program.

Unlike the traditional approach that provides a limited number of options that may or may not be helpful, this initiative starts with case managers asking, “What is it you need to avoid becoming homeless?”

One example from the pilot project was a woman who moved to King County from Russia who was an experienced seamstress. By helping her purchase a sewing machine, the program helped her earn a higher income so she could continue to pay for her family’s rent.

Preventing homelessness is less expensive than providing emergency shelter. It also prevents children from experiencing the trauma of homelessness, which can negatively impact brain development. 

Increasing the inventory of affordable housing located near transit centers

The $41 million in funding that Executive Constantine announced will expand access to affordable housing, increase the inventory of affordable housing near transit centers, and provide services to help more people succeed once they have a place to live.

It’s part of an $87 million package approved this summer by the County Council that ensures affordable housing can be built throughout the county.

The package includes $14.2 million to build 549 units of affordable housing located near major transit centers throughout King County, creating high-density, mixed-income neighborhoods. By borrowing against future revenue generated by hotel and motel taxes, King County will increase the amount of affordable housing located within a 10-minute walk of major King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit stations before property values increase.

He announced $12.1 million to build 279 units affordable housing in Renton, Bellevue, Seattle, Auburn and Tukwila. Some of the units will be set aside for military veterans who are homeless, people who are transitioning from institutional or hospital settings, and people who have developmental disabilities.

A total of $10.2 million will provide services that help people transition to safe, affordable housing and succeed once they have a place to live. That includes rental assistance and housing with on-site behavioral health and other support services. The announcement also includes new and renewed funding for homeless shelter, transitional housing and rapid rehousing.

Where the money is going

Twenty-seven grants in the amount of $150,000 each were awarded to local non-profit agencies through the Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative RFP to provide client-centered case management and flexible funds to youth ages 12-24 and families with youth who are at imminent risk of homelessness. The following agencies were awarded funding:

Africatown Center for Education & Innovation

Seattle

API Chaya

Seattle

Atlantic Street Center

South King County

Auburn Youth Resources

South King County

Friends of Youth

North/East King County

Interim Community Development Association

Seattle

Iraqi Community Center of Washington

South King County

Kent Youth and Family Services

South King County

LifeWire

North/East King County

Mother Africa

South King County

Multi-Service Center - RAP in Fed Way

South King County

Native Women in Need

Seattle

NW Network - Focus South Seattle, Renton, Burien, Kent, Federal Way

South King County

Open Doors for Multicultural Families

South King County

Partner in Employment

South King County

Partners at Lowell PTA

Seattle

POCAAN

South King County

Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA)

South King County

Riverton Park United Methodist Church

South King County

Seattle Education Access - South Seattle

Seattle

Seattle Indian Health Board

Seattle

The ARC of King County - Seattle, Kent, Auburn, Renton

South King County

Therapeutic Health Services

South King County

United Indians of All Tribes

Seattle

Wellspring Family Services

South King County

Youth Eastside Services

East King County

YouthCare

Seattle


Sponsor/Project

Location

Award Amount

Comments

Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI)/Renton Commons

Renton

$4.4 Million

48 units: 36 for homeless, including 14 for veterans

Imagine Housing/30 Bellevue Project

Bellevue

$2.0 Million

62 units: 31 for homeless; 13 units set aside for disabled households, including 3 units for people with a developmental disability

DESC/ N. 96th Supportive Housing

Seattle

$1.5 Million

98 units for homeless; 74 for people with chronic mental illness ; 24 for people with disabilities

Mental Health Housing Foundation/Auburn Homestead

Auburn

$2.95 Million

19 beds for individuals exiting institutional or hospital settings with behavioral health needs

Community House/ 23rd and Jackson

Seattle

$750,000

52 units; 39 for homeless and 13 for people exiting hospital or institutional settings with behavioral health needs.

Homestead Community Land Trust/Riverton Park

Tukwila

$500,000

11 homes for low-income households

TOTAL

$12.1 Million

Total Units: 279 (Total Homeless - 204)

Total Homes: 11

Funding sources

  • $3.1 million HOME (federal funds)
  • $1.6 million Regional Affordable Housing Program (RAHP)
  • $1.6 million Veterans Levy
  • $1.2 million Human Services Levy
  • $3.7 million Behavioral Health and Recovery Division State funding
  • $900,000 Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) Fund

Sponsor/Project

Location

Award Amount

Comments

Capitol Hill Housing/Broadway

Seattle

$4 Million

110 unit

King County Housing Authority (KCHA)/Highland Village

Bellevue

$3.5 Million

76 units

LIHI/Little Saigon

Seattle

$1 Million

77 units

KCHA/Corinthian

SeaTac

$3.1 Million

95 units

KCHA/Villages at South Station

Tukwila

$2.6 Million

191 units: includes 16 for veterans

TOTAL

$14.2 Million

Total Units: 549

Funding sources

  • $14.2 MM of Transit Oriented Development bond funds.

Sponsor/Project

Location

Award Amount

Comments

DESC/ Estelle Supportive Housing

Seattle

$1.1 Million; 15 SHA vouchers

91 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults; 15 set aside for Harborview referrals

Plymouth Housing Group/ 7th and Cherry

Seattle

77 SHA vouchers

77 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults; 30 set aside for Harborview referrals

Compass Housing Alliance/ Nyer Urness

Seattle

$833,912

79 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults.

Sound Mental Health/ Ernestine Anderson Place

Seattle

$1 Million

45 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults.

Imagine Housing/ Athene Housing Stability Program

North/ East

$250,000

20 homeless units of permanent housing with supports for seniors.

Downtown Emergency Service Center/ Aurora House

Seattle

$574,135

83 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults.

Compass Housing Alliance/ Cascade Women’s Program

Seattle

$250,000

32 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single women.

Sound Mental Health/ Kenyon

Seattle

$225,000

18 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults

Sound Mental Health/ SKC Housing First

South KC

$660,000

50 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for single adults (scattered-site).

Congregations for the Homeless/ Permanent Housing

East KC

$970,000

10 homeless units of permanent housing with supports for single men (scattered-site).

Imagine Housing/ Rose Crest Housing Stability Program

North/ East

$594,620

32 homeless units of permanent housing with supports for single adults and families.

Sound Mental Health/ Project Homestead

Seattle

$948,205

25 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for families (scattered-site).

Somali Youth & Family Club/ Homeless Housing Services

South

$250,000

10 homeless units of permanent housing with supports for families (scattered-site).

Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation/ Pathways First

South

$1.9 Million

18 homeless units of permanent supportive housing for families, with 4 units designated as graduation units.

Muslim Housing Services/ Homeless Housing & Services

South/ Seattle

$250,000

8 homeless units of permanent housing with supports for families (scattered-site).

YMCA of Greater Seattle/ Family Housing Program

Seattle/ South

$400,000

10 homeless units of permanent housing with supports for young adult families (scattered-site).

TOTAL

$10.2 Million

Total Units: 608

Funding sources

  • Homeless Housing and Services Fund Document Recording Fees: $6.8 M
  • MIDD Sales Tax Collections: $1.7 M
  • Veterans and Human Services Levy: $1.7 M
  • Seattle Housing Authority (SHA):  92 Project-based Section 8 vouchers

Sponsor/Project

Location

Award Amount

Comments

Shelter

County Wide

$1.5 Million

Funds support over 1,900 units of shelter throughout King County in 35 projects through 19 agencies.

Transitional Housing

County Wide

$600,000

Funds support 304 units of transitional housing,18 projects 13 agencies

Rapid Rehousing

County Wide

$2.4 Million

Funds support 400 RRH units in 8 projects through seven agencies

Funding sources

  • Consolidated Homeless Grant (state funds)
  • Community Development Block Grant (federal funds)
  • Emergency Solutions Grant (federal funds)
  • Regional Affordable Housing Program (RAHP)

Relevant links


Quotes

We are ready to deliver on the commitment I made to the people of King County that we will help put every child and youth in our region on a path toward lifelong success. The very first prevention strategy funded by Best Starts for Kids will ensure that more children and families have a safe, healthy and warm place to live, following through on our promise to invest in what works.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

The price of decent housing is out of reach for many families in South King County, especially for families with kids. South County desperately needs affordable housing and I am proud to have sponsored the legislation to provide these investments to build new housing and prevent youth homelessness.

Dave Upthegrove, King County Councilmember

The partnerships that are being created through Best Starts for Kids will be transformative – improving lives in every community in King County, and preparing children for their best futures.

Joe McDermott, King County Council Chair

I am very pleased to see that organizations such as Mother Africa, which works with a population of children and families disproportionately at imminent risk of homelessness, will receive this funding. For too long King County has not assured that those racial and ethnic communities best equipped to engage and deliver services to the most disenfranchised are empowered to work effectively within the populations they specialize in. We need to continue receiving from independent evaluators information on how effectively we’re reaching out to historically underserved communities, to ensure that agencies such as Mother Africa can deliver these vital services in a culturally effective manner.

Larry Gossett, King County Councilmember

Homelessness in King County has reached alarming numbers. I agree with Executive Constantine that the most effective approach is to invest in preventing homelessness in the first place, especially for youth and families, which is what we put in place through the Youth and Families Homelessness Prevention Initiative. In addition, I enthusiastically supported the investments we made in affordable housing and Transit Oriented Development projects. Siting affordable housing – and any housing – next to transit makes eminent sense, as it provides mobility without the costs of owning a car.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Councilmember

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250
Al Sanders, King County Council, 206-477-1016


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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