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.
This morning the Progressive Revenue Task Force held its first meeting, and mostly just decided what its other meetings will be about.
This afternoon, Mayor Tim Burgess and Human Services Department Director Catherine Lester announced funding grants to human services providers as a result of the $34 million RFP published earlier this year.
Last week, the results of the annual One Night Count (renamed “Count Us In” this year) were released, giving us updated data on the extent and nature of the homeless crisis in King County and Seattle.
The full report is 116 pages of tables. It’s heavy on data and light on interpretation. After spending several days poring over the report, here are my thoughts on what it means.
This afternoon King County released the results of its annual One Night Count (renamed this year to “Count Us In”).
It’s a long, detailed report, and the methodology changed this year so making comparisons with previous years is very difficult. I’m going to take a few days to thoroughly read and analyze it before doing a detailed post, but here are pointers to the key reading, and a few top-line points.
Last Wednesday the City Council got another monthly update on the city’s short-term response to the homelessness crisis.
Late last summer, Mayor Murray announced Bridging the Gap, his administration’s short-term plan too address homelessness while the longer-term plan Pathways Home, took its time to spin up. Both efforts have sputtered along since then, mired in city government bureaucracy and hidden behind a maddening lack of transparency and accountability. But there are now signs that the shorter-term effort is starting to find its groove thanks to a creative idea for how to reorganize the effort.
Late last summer the Mayor promised that the Human Services Department was working on an assessment of the needs of Seattle’s homeless population. Originally due out in November, it was finally released today.
The report gives the most detailed view to-date of who our homeless neighbors are, how they became homeless, and the issues they are struggling with. Along the way, it debunks several persistent myths about the homeless population and suggests the services that the city could provide that would do the most to lift them out of homelessness.
Since its inception last fall, the City of Seattle’s “Bridging the Gap” interim plan for addressing the homelessness crisis in the city has had its ups and downs — and mostly downs. But based on the team’s report to the City Council last week, it may finally be finding its feet.