King County approves $100,000 for homeless bus tickets to reunify families
The program that helps King County homeless people get bus tickets out of the area to reunify with family in other parts of the country has acquired $100,000. Pushed by Councilmember Reagan Dunn, the funding was approved by the King County Council on Wednesday.
The current budget for family reunification is $37,000. The program enables a homeless person to get a pre-paid ticket anywhere in the U.S., under the condition that they have family there who can provide a home for them.
King County Executive’s office also plans to redesign Dunn’s proposed Homeward Bound family reunification program in order to streamline the program and raise awareness of it in the homeless community.
“This funding allows us to offer stop-gap family reunification services while collecting data that will inform the design of a dedicated Homeward Bound program,” Dunn said. “Considering that San Diego spends $1.2 million on their Homeward Bound program, ours will ultimately require a larger investment — but for now, this is a good start.”
The latest homeless count for Seattle/King County showed that there are 11,199 people experiencing homelessness countywide. Of those counted, an estimated 2,451 individuals were in families with children, 1,089 were unaccompanied youth, 830 were veterans, and 32 percent were identified as people of color.
King County data shows that nine percent of local homeless people have indicated that such a reunification would enable them to find permanent housing.