KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Gee Scott: ‘I don’t have faith’ in King County Regional Homelessness Authority

May 22, 2023, 2:11 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm

King County Regional Homelessness Authority KCRHA 5-year plan...

In an aerial view, a homeless encampment, known informally as "Dope Slope" stands covered in garbage near downtown Seattle on March 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) has been in flux after the recent departure of CEO Marc Dones. A new report shed light on the salaries of the highest-paid employees, where many are getting paid well over six-figures.

“I don’t have faith” in the King County Regional Homeless Authority (KCRHA) Gee Scott said on Monday’s Gee & Ursula Show.

“I had someone reach out to me within the King County Regional Housing Authority, the governing committee, and they basically said to me, I can tell you right now, quote, ‘It is chaotic as h***,'” Gee continued.

“I never really have felt a vibe, a connection with King County and/or Seattle leadership and the King County Housing Authority. It doesn’t feel like they’re lockstep,” Gee said. “I haven’t seen one statement to make me think that they work together. You said something this morning, Ursula, and I’m gonna take your words. This is just one more bureaucratic response. This is just more of a layer that is layered which is in the way that is collecting a lot of dollars.”

KCRHA was formed in 2019, and it has a five-year plan to dramatically reduce homelessness, but many say they are way off course.

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“Every headline is made up of just another disaster,” Ursula Reutin said. “Who’s running this thing? The CEO has stepped down. Aren’t there supposed to be other cities that are part of this like Kent, Renton, or Auburn? All these different cities that are supposed to be working together.”

Real Change has a concern about the pricetag:

$12 billion and adds 15,690 shelter beds at a cost of $3.3 billion with annual operating costs of $1 billion. There are no specifics on how this plan will be funded. There is not a roadmap on how KCRHA will accomplish this. The current KCRHA budget for emergency shelters is $90 million. We ask, how is it realistic or feasible to scale up that amount? For the purpose of comparison, Seattle’s entire budget for 2023-24 is $7.4 billion.

Real Change also said the urgent and primary focus of getting 7,619 unsheltered homeless people indoors is getting lost.

“It’s only been in existence for a couple of years. And there’s always the growing pains and that kind of thing,” Ursula said. “But I think, just from its inception, there are some serious flaws in the setup. And then in its communication about what it is actually accomplishing.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

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Gee Scott: ‘I don’t have faith’ in King County Regional Homelessness Authority