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Seattle, King County’s homelessness authority to meet for the first time

People sleep outside on a sidewalk on April 6, 2020 in Seattle. The City of Seattle and King County are in the process of minimizing the concentration of people living in shelters in response to COVID-19. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) was approved late last year by the King County Council and Seattle City Council, and the first meeting will be Thursday, May 21. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, this first meeting of the KCRHA governing committee will be conducted remotely.

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The KCRHA will oversee countywide policy, funding, and services for people experiencing homelessness. It was originally crafted by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, amended by members of the two councils and their committees.

The governing committee of the KCRHA will be comprised of 12 members — three members who represent King County, three who represent the city of Seattle, three who represent the Sound Cities Association, and three representatives with lived experience of homelessness.

“The new homelessness authority brings together regional leaders, community partners, and people with lived experience as never before, so that we can achieve greater efficiencies and better outcomes,” Constantine said. “The COVID-19 emergency brings greater urgency to our collaboration and underscores the need for a response system that is just and fair for all, and provides every person experiencing homelessness the opportunity to reclaim their futures.”

Members of this committee will approve all KCRHA plans and budgets.

“Some of the most critical issues we are facing are not contained within City borders and require robust resources and coordination across City lines to properly address. I look forward to working with leaders from across the county and especially those with lived experience who will guide our collective work in addressing homelessness regionally,” Durkan said.

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The process of creating this authority has been lengthy, as the original plan was first unveiled in December 2017. Almost a year later, officials announced their intent to “create a set of recommendations and action steps,” and after another eight months, legislation finally went before two councils for their approval.

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