Council President M. Lorena González issued the following statement after Seattle’s Office of City Auditor released a report which found that the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) “is sufficiently managing the homeless services programs, contracts, and the City’s investments in homeless services,” and “the service providers are generally meeting their contract terms.”
González requested the audit in 2018, asking for a review of HSD’s contracting practices related to homeless services. The Auditor’s Office, which is an independent office, evaluated HSD’s contract procurement and approval process, how HSD provides monitoring and oversight to contracts awarded, and how service providers complied with contract terms and program requirements.
“My initial request for this audit was made around the time the Council and the City at large were deliberating a proposed progressive tax on business to fund additional evidence-based strategies to address the homelessness and housing crisis that we are still facing today. At the time the public expressed a desire to understand how taxpayer money was being used to provide homeless services and whether the city was efficient in contracting those dollars to human service providers.
“The Auditor’s report confirms that our Human Services Department is performing satisfactory oversight of its homelessness services contracts while service providers are meeting the program requirements consistent with those contracts.
“Of course there are still opportunities to strengthen our practices and make our contracting processes even more efficient. I am grateful for the diligent work of the Office of City Auditor to develop a set of 18 recommendations that we believe can strengthen HSD’s contract management. Additionally, I am heartened to hear that the Department is already taking steps to effectuate these process improvements. I look forward to working collaboratively with Mayor Durkan and HSD leadership to ensure we successfully implement this set of recommendations from the City Auditor.
“The completion of the Auditor’s work and release of these recommendations are well-timed as we move forward in standing up the Seattle-King County Regional Homelessness Authority and merge the City’s administration of homeless services contracts with that of King County. It’s essential that we strengthen our contracting processes as much as possible as we chart out on this new course in the management of contracts and the delivery of homeless services.”
González intends to schedule a briefing for the City Council at an appropriate time in the future.