Public Health and Human Services

Council member Bagshaw’s Human Services and Public Health Committee kicked off their year with presentations from Catherine Lester, the Director of the Seattle Department of Human Services and Patty Hayes,  the Director of Seattle-King County Public Health.  Both directors provided overviews of their organizations, their annual goals, and the metrics they will be tracking against.  Lester’s is here and Hayes’s is here.

The big takeway: both are organizations with enormous tasks put before them, especially with the current homelessness crisis in the city. Hayes claimed that her organization covers the ninth largest public-health metropolitan district in the nation.

Committee chair Bagshaw is visibly excited to have both of these organizations under her purview this year and was deeply engaged in asking questions. Council members Burgess and Harrell were also present; burgess in particular emphasized the difference between “outputs” and “outcomes” in terms of the things that each group measures; he was happy to hear figures about the number of people that the two organizations touched last year, but also wants to know how many successfully transitioned to no longer needing assistance.

The presentations were very high-level, and it was particularly  disappointing that neither Lester nor Hayes touched directly upon what they were doing to follow up from last Wednesday’s infamous “Magnolia meeting,” in the aftermath of which Bagshaw met with city department representatives to plan steps forward.  Bagshaw had promised at Monday morning’s Council briefing that it would be a topic of discussion at her committee meeting, but that never materialized.

You can watch the webcast of the meeting here.