While most of the attention in 2018 was on the lackluster and fruitless “One Table” effort to drive a regional response to homelessness, it appears that quietly the stage was being set for a move to a regional governance system — or at least for the parts under the control of Seattle and King County.
On October 3, the Mayor’s Office walked through for the City Council the parts of the proposed budget related to responding to the homelessness crisis, which span several departments. Let’s dive into the details.
This afternoon, Council President Bruce Harrell announced the newest Council committee: the Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability.
Today is the day that several local news outlets team up to talk about the homelessness crisis.
This afternoon the Human Services Department briefed the City Council on the performance of its homelessness response programs. It was the dawn of a new era in transparency and accountability for the department.
In a sudden and unexpected move today, Council President Bruce Harrell introduced a bill that would repeal the recently-enacted employee-hours tax (aka the “head tax”) and scheduled a special meeting of the full City Council for tomorrow to deliberate and vote on it.
Yesterday, King County released a report with statistics from its annual “Point in Time” count of homeless people living in the county. The 140-page report is an ocean of data and charts. But if you look closely, you can see the story of what’s happening to the homeless population — as well as the city and county’s response.
Back in January, Mayor Durkan announced a proposal to use $5.3 million from the sale of a city property to fund “bridge housing” to get more of the city’s homeless population off the streets. The City Council tweaked the plan a bit, but in the end Durkan’s $5.3 million survived and the Council ratified the funding plan in February.
Today Durkan is revealing the next step: a specific plan for how the money should be spent.
This afternoon the City Council resolved its stalemate and passed a compromise “head tax.” It imposes an annual tax of $275 per full-time employee (or full-time equivalent) on businesses making $20 million or more in revenues per year in Seattle.