King County official calls out KCRHA on release of 5-year plan

Jun 4, 2023, 10:12 AM

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

A King County official called out the King County Regional Homelessness Authority after the organization released its 5-year plan.

Vice Chair Reagan Dunn called for the organization to disband after he saw the plan.

He said it’s vague and doesn’t account for what he calls a jaw-dropping multi-billion dollars the KCRHA asked for, but the King County Regional Homelessness Authority said they didn’t ask for nearly $12 billion for the plan, and Dunn has his wires crossed.

“It’s insanely high. That would be the entire King County budget and the city of Seattle budget combined for homelessness,” said King County Vice Chair Reagan Dunn.  “If you do the math it’s about $860k per homeless individual in King County. That’s a lot of money,” he added.

Dunn is so against the plan he wrote an op-ed for the Seattle Times on Thursday.

Friday, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority said that article was full of what they called “factual errors.”

The organization, who declined an in-person interview, said the $12 billion came from the Washington State Department of Commerce and “based on modeling from the WA State Department of Commerce, that would be the full cost of creating enough permanent housing and temporary shelter to end homelessness in our community,” per their statement to KIRO 7 on Friday.

The Homelessness Authority also said, “The 5-Year Plan is a strategic plan; it is not a budget request.”

They said the plan uses money already set aside in annual budgets.

The 2023 budget is set for about $253 million and 2024′s is projected to be about $250 million.

Seattle and King County officials set those numbers, and Dunn said they should be in charge of the homeless response in lieu of the Homelessness Authority.

“The City of Seattle and King County punted to a regional homeless authority because they didn’t have the courage to make the tough decisions,” said Vice Chair Dunn.

In that 5-year plan, the KCRHA laid out their progress too.

They noted a crisis center network in the works, the number of housing units made available and the number of people places into units.

They also tout a $150 million state investment for encampment resolution and 13 long-standing camps, resolved.

“There’s over 400 in the city of Seattle alone. Seattle’s just one of 39 cities in King County. We have homelessness problems developing rapidly in the unincorporated areas,” said Dunn.

Dunn’s main critique of the plan is the emphasis on putting people into homes first.

“From someone that’s in recovery themselves there’s nobody you’re going to be able to keep in subsidized housing if you don’t address the underlying drug problems, mental health problems,” said Vice Chair Dunn.

The KCRHA argues housing is crucial to help with recovery, “Housing first is actually housing + services. It is the stability of housing that allows other services like health care, education, and employment supports to be effective.”

Dunn says in 2023 the city of Seattle and King County will vote on whether to continue with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.

Dunn said as of now, he’s a “no” vote.

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King County official calls out KCRHA on release of 5-year plan