Housing Affordability and Homelessness

Six years after declaring homelessness an emergency, our county officials has allowed the crisis to get worse. Study after study has told us what it will take to address this situation, and what we need now are leaders who will act with urgency and be accountable to solve the most important issue in King County.

We have to move from a reactive system that only addresses the problem once it’s too late, to one that is proactive.

As King County executive I will prioritize:

  • Quickly expanding emergency housing options, which are not replacements for permanent housing but a means to help individuals find a safe place inside to get back on their feet.
    • Hotels, Tiny Homes, and Repurposed Civic Properties can serve these needs
  • Investing in proven solutions to help people get into housing with wraparound services that fit their needs through the newly created JustCare program.
  • Expanding community-based substance use disorder and mental health treatment facilities.
  • Increase the number of regional access points and outreach workers to help individuals through the Coordinated Entry Program.
  • Working in coordination with our Regional Homelessness Authority along with community-based organizations to dramatically scale up the direct aid to people experiencing homelessness.

It is many times cheaper to keep someone housed than it is to get them out of homelessness. In order for this region to alleviate homelessness, we must stem the flow of individuals who become unhoused.

In fact, 75% of individuals experiencing homelessness are transitory and can be served by addressing basic needs to get them housed and stable.

To prevent more people from becoming unhoused we need to create permanent supportive and affordable housing to solve the root causes of the homelessness crisis.

No one person or jurisdiction can do this alone. It will require new leaders with the urgency and humility to work together.