This morning, the City Council had another hearing to discuss the proposed regional governance structure to respond to the homelessness crisis that was developed by representatives of Seattle and King County.
This afternoon, the Council once again took up the Mayor’s bill prohibiting “RV Ranching” of dilapidated vehicles. But it rewrote the bill to change the focus from cracking down on the predatory ranchers to protecting and providing assistance to the victims.
This morning, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that they have jointly submitted a long-awaited proposal for a regional governance structure for responding to the homelessness crisis.
The proposal, as detailed in a proposed Interlocal Agreement and a Charter for the new organization, lays out the services that will be consolidated into the new authority, the governing bodies that will oversee it, and the initial funding.
Earlier this week, the City Council had another committee hearing on the Mayor’s proposed ordinance to curb “RV Ranching,” predatory renting of RV’s and other vehicles in poor condition to homeless people.
The second conversation went better than the first one last week, and the issues are becoming clearer.
This morning, the Human Services Department delivered its second-quarter report to the City Council on the Navigation Team. Last fall the Council placed a proviso on the team’s 2019 budget so that it must deliver a report each quarter in order to get the next quarter’s budget released and available to be spent.
The Nav Team has been increasing the amount of metrics it tracks and produces, though quite frankly most of the numbers in the report (for January – March) are not terribly insightful — especially since its regular work was suspended for two weeks during the February winter storm while the team focused on emergency work getting people indoors. There were, however, some interesting parts of today’s conversation that shed light on recent issues with the team.
The efforts to create a new governance structure for King County and its cities continues to make slow progress. They still don’t have many answers, but they seem to be focusing in on the key questions in the hopes of finding answers by the end of the summer.
Yesterday Mayor Durkan, Interim Human Services Director Jason Johnson, and other city officials briefed the press on the Human Services Department’s (and the city’s) response to the homelessness crisis in 2018, in advance of releasing selected statistics to the public. In addition, HSD delivered its quarterly report to the City Council this morning on the performance of the Navigation Team. This follows a report from the City Auditor’s office earlier this month criticizing HSD and the Navigation Team for aspects of its response.
Let’s dive in to the 2018 numbers.
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.
Despite various factions in the city lining up either for or against the proposed “head tax” on large businesses in Seattle, the City Council rolled up its sleeves today and got back to work debating the nuts and bolts of the proposal. Their goal is to finish it up on Friday and pass it into law next Monday.
Early last week, Council member Kshama Sawant turned her committee hearing into a political rally to demand that the Council overturn the Human Services Department’s RFP results and restore funding for organizations that lost funding, most notably SHARE, WHEEL, The Women’s Referral Service, and an Urban Rest Stop. After some behind-the-scenes shuttle diplomacy by Council member Teresa Mosqueda, the Council did that very thing this afternoon.