skip to main content

Housing & Community Development Program

Department of Community and Human Services
Division: Community Services Division

Chinook Building
401 Fifth Ave., Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98104

e-mail us
Phone: 206-263-9062
Fax: 206-296-0156
TTY: 711 Relay Service

Employee Directory

Department: Community and Human Services
Adrienne Quinn, Director

Family Homelessness Initiative

Thank you for taking an interest in the Initiative to Prevent and End Family Homelessness in King County. This website is intended to provide community stakeholders with information about the initiative and offer an opportunity to provide feedback.

News and Events

Coordinated Entry and Assessment - Analysis and Refinement Work

In 2012, King County launched Family Housing Connection (FHC), a coordinated entry assessment and referral process for families experiencing homelessness in King County. Over the past two and a half years, learnings from local experience and changes in expectations at the Federal and State level have influenced a number of policy and practice shifts. Consulting firm Focus Strategies has been engaged by the Committee to End Homelessness (CEH) to assess the progress to date and recommend refinements to the system as needed.

The final report from the consultant can be found by clicking the following link: (Family Homelessness Coordinated Entry System: Analysis and Refinement Project). Katharine Gale of Focus Strategies will present the report to the IAC at the January 12 meeting.

Monthly Informational Sessions with Family Homelessness Initiative Staff

Occurring every third Wednesday, these stakeholder meetings are an opportunity to hear about current Family Homelessness Initiative (FHI) projects, what is coming up next, to ask questions, and provide input. The Family Housing Connection (FHC) Feedback Sessions are an open forum to provide important updates, share information, and hear feedback with family housing providers related to the coordinated entry system for families experiencing homelessness.

Our next session is on March 18, 2015

9:00 - 10:00am: FHI Information Session
10:00 - 11:00am: FHC Feedback Session

Location: 2100 Building (2100 24th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144)

Family Homelessness Initiative and Building Changes Systems Realignment Learning Opportunity

On Friday, August 22, capacity building grant recipients and other stakeholders were invited to hear about the next phase of FHI work underway. The meeting provided updates on: 

  • The first phase of program realignment (including a small group of agencies that have been selected to start realignment)
  • Next steps for the remaining providers not involved in that process
  • The tools and supports available to your agencies
  • The second installment of Building Changes Capacity Building Grants

A pdf of the meeting powerpoint can be found here. Also, other planning documents can be found below (Initiative Next Steps, System Realignment).

Shelter Diversion Pilot Launched
In January of 2014, a new Shelter Diversion pilot program launched in King County. The goal of the pilot (funded by Building Changes and the City of Seattle Human Services Department, in partnership with the Committee to End Homelessness Family Homelessness Initiative) is to divert families who are living in places not meant for human habitation from having to enter the shelter system whenever possible - moving families quickly from the street to housing while freeing up our limited shelter resources for those families that are most vulnerable with no other housing options. Families access Diversion through our coordinated entry system (FHC) and may receive diversion services directly from FHC or through a referral to one of four partner agencies. Additional information on the pilot model is available in the right-hand sidebar.

Initiative Next Steps

System Realignment:

The Committee to End Homelessness Family Homelessness Initiative is at a critical juncture. Our community is undertaking a comprehensive approach to systems change. This includes innovative strategies and ambitious goals to prevent and end family homelessness in King County. Perhaps the most significant systems shift is right-sizing the existing homeless system to one that provides interventions that best match the needs of families experiencing homelessness (having the right type/number of interventions to match our local typology of homeless families.)

Please see below for recent materials:


In December 2008, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and United Way of King County awarded a grant to King County to undertake a local planning process to develop a plan that will reduce family homelessness. King County is one of three communities (Pierce and Snohomish are the other two counties) participating in this expanded work of the Washington Families Fund managed by Building Changes.

The planning process King County undertook encompassed three distinct phases of work:

  1. A landscape assessment report that contains a detailed analysis of the county's existing resources and systems for addressing the needs of homeless families.
  2. A strategic plan that proposes specific strategies for improving county systems, with particular emphasis on the five promising approaches identified in the landscape assessment.
  3. An implementation plan that describes specific time lines, resources, responsibilities, and desired outcomes for implementing the strategies identified in phase two.

Moving Forward with implementation 

 Initial planning efforts are completed. King County is implementing strategies focused on creating change in the five key areas that will have the most significant impact on overall system change.


  1. COORDINATED ENTRY AND ASSESSMENT - Give families a convenient and standard way to find the services and housing they need as quickly as possible. 
  2. PREVENT HOMELESSNESS FOR FAMILIES MOST AT RISK - Keep families who are on the edge of homelessness housed and quickly connect them to the services they need.
  3. MOVE FAMILIES QUICKLY TO STABLE HOUSING - Help families regain stability by moving them into non time-limited housing as quickly as possible. 
  4. FOCUS SUPPORT SERVICES ON HOUSING STABILITY - Provide individual families with the right services at the right time and connect families to services they need and want to maintain housing stability and self-sufficiency.  
  5. INCREASE COLLABORATIONS WITH MAINSTREAM SYSTEMS - Assist families in accessing the services, housing and income supports they need to maintain housing stability.

Technical Assistance and Support 

 We are available for technical assistance and support throughout this systems change process. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, meet with you one-on-one, or come out to your agency to talk with your Board and staff about the initiative. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Our contact information is listed below.


Contact us

Debbi Knowles , 206-263-9088 or at
Triina Tennelo, 206-263-9110,
PROGRAM MANAGER: Michelle Valdez, 206-263-1350,


FHI Planning Process:
Landscape Assessment 
Strategic Plan
Implementation Plan

FHI Advisory Group:
Family Advisory Group Charter
AG Meeting Agenda: January 2015
AG Meeting Summary: January 2015
AG Meeting Agenda: December 2014
AG Meeting Summary: December 2014
AG Meeting Agenda: November 2014
AG Meeting Summary: November 2014
AG Meeting Agenda: September 2014
AG Meeting Summary: September 2014 
AG Meeting Agenda: August 2014
AG Meeting PPT: August 2014
AG Meeting Summary: August 2014

Stakeholder Communications:
Stakeholder Email: February 2015
Stakeholder Email: January 2015
Stakeholder Email: November 2014 
Stakeholder Email: October 2014
Stakeholder Email: September 2014
Stakeholder Email: August 2014
Stakeholder Email: July 2014

FHI Information Sessions:
Info Session January 2015
Info Session November 2014 
Info Session October 2014 
Info Session September 2014
Info Session August 2014
Info Session July 2014

Diversion Pilot:
Diversion One-Pager
Diversion Flow Chart
Diversion Pilot Guidelines

Shelter to Housing Project (SIG):
Shelter to Housing Guidelines
Risk Mitigation Funds (SIG):