Over the years, Seattle has added more and more homeless programs to help combat an issue that is now considered by the city to be a crisis.
The result of having different city councils and former mayors adding on programs, without having them all coordinate, is a mishmash of a system without an integrated approach.
That, according to Mayor Ed Murray, is changing.
The city is requesting proposals for applications from agencies that provide services that will support the effort of increasing access to permanent housing for the homeless. There is approximately $30 million in funding available.
“Instead of just funding a bunch of programs because they deal with homelessness, we’re trying an integrated approach that creates a single system,” Murray said.
Katherine Lester, the director of the Human Services Department, says with a more integrated approach will be a focus on addressing racial disparities and prioritizing five specific goals: increasing the number of people being referred to permanent housing; reducing the average length of a stay in shelters; reducing the number of people who return to the streets; reducing the number of people becoming homeless; and better utilization of current shelters.
There are more than 8,000 people experiencing homelessness in Seattle, according to the city. Of those, 4,619 are sheltered and 3,857 are unsheltered.
The city started its Pathways Home program to address the issue, which has resulted in increased response, investing in programs that work, and addressing racial disparities, according to the city’s website.
The city will spend about $50 million on homeless this year. Fifty percent of that goes to emergency response, 34 percent to permanent housing support, 9 percent to keep people in homes, and 7 percent on services.
You can watch the full announcement below.