Seattle Regional Homelessness Authority Plan Moves Forward, but Faces Controversy

A proposal for a regional entity to oversee homeless services in King County is running into jurisdictional conflicts.

1 minute read

December 20, 2019, 10:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


Underpass Camp

VDB Photos / Shutterstock

Doug Trumm reports that the King County Council in Washington approved a proposal for a regional authority to coordinate homeless services, but changes to the plan could drive a wedge between Seattle and the surrounding suburbs.

"Under the plan, suburban cities would contribute nothing in the way of funding. However, thanks to a voting majority on the governing body, they would have power to control decisions, such as insisting on a high-barrier service model that doesn’t have a good track record exiting people out of homelessness," says Trumm.

Funding also remains an issue, with King County spending about $200 million a year, half of projected needs. "If the suburban members try to spend Seattle’s money against the wishes of the Seattle City Council, this could be one of the shortest lived regional authorities in history. It’s a strange way to begin. A money imbalance paired with a power imbalance in the opposite direction puts the authority on the diciest of footings," notes Trumm.

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