I am pleased to announce that today the Seattle City Council approved the Interlocal Agreement (ILA) to establish a Regional Homelessness Authority (RHA) between King County and the City of Seattle. It is clear the status quo has not worked, and that a regional response to this regional crisis is needed. In taking this groundbreaking step, we are honoring the research, wisdom, and advice of experts to end the fragmented approach we currently have. It is my hope that we will now unify in a holistic and aligned manner to achieve better results.
It should be recognized that this was a carefully considered proposal, crafted over the past two years, and included input from the general public and a broad coalition of experts, service providers, government, businesses, philanthropists, and people who have experienced homelessness. Because our city government is making significant contributions to the funding, we gave due attention to the governance and structure of the authority. I have confidence that this structure will provide a sensible balance between expert-driven evidence-based policy, lived experience, and government officials who are ultimately held accountable by the public for results.
As always, the details of this new Regional Homelessness Authority matter. There will be two main committees on this body: the Implementation Board and the Governing Committee. The Implementation Board will be composed of thirteen experts, including individuals with lived experience of homelessness. The Implementation Board will create evidence-based plans to reduce homelessness, which will then be passed to the Governing Committee. The Governing Committee, also comprised of people with lived experience in addition to elected officials appointed by Seattle and King County, approves the budget to carry out the plans offered by the Implementation Board. The Governing Committee would need a 2/3 super-majority to make any changes to the evidence-based plans put forth by the Implementation Board, and a 3/4 super-majority to remove the Executive Director of the Regional Homelessness Authority.
We have studied this issue long enough; we have worked on the structure carefully and I believe it is time for concrete action. I am pleased that today the City of Seattle was able to take a step forward so that this new collaborative regional organization of experts and officials can get to work.
CLICK HERE for a link to the ILA legislation, and CLICK HERE to see the King County’s statement on this issue.