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Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces Additional Leadership at the Human Services Department to Better Align City’s Response to the Homelessness Crisis

Fred Podesta to Lead Expanded Navigation Team in Human Services Department; Calvin Goings to Serve as Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services

Seattle (August 2) – Ahead of the new governance recommendations regarding homeless services in King County later this year, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that the Human Services Department (HSD) will create a new Deputy Director of Homelessness to report directly to Jason Johnson, Interim Director of HSD, to better align the City’s homelessness response. Tiffany Washington, who currently serves as the department’s Division Director of Homeless Strategy & Investments, would be elevated to serve as the Deputy Director. As a part of this effort, the work of the Navigation Team would be expanded within the HSD, reporting to Fred Podesta. In addition, the Mayor announced that Calvin Goings, the current Seattle City Light Chief of Staff, would serve as the Director of Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), subject to the confirmation by City Council.

“As we work as a region to create a more consolidated system that has a governance structure, with authority and resources to address our homelessness crisis, our City is continuously working to create a more accountable and effective response to our region’s crisis. With the new leadership additions at the Human Services Department, we’re better aligning our resources and staffing related to homelessness to reflect this critical priority and to more efficiently address homelessness,” said Mayor Durkan.

Currently, Tiffany Washington is Division Director of Homeless Strategy & Investments at the Human Services Department and will now serve as Deputy Director. In 2015, she began serving as Youth and Family Empowerment (YFE) division director, and in January 2018, she began serving as the Division Director of Homeless Strategy & Investments.

Fred Podesta will direct the work of the Navigation Team at the Human Services Department and oversee expanded outreach as well as continued coordination with City departments. Earlier this year, King County Executive Constantine and Governor Inslee committed $500,000 to support Seattle’s Navigation Team, which connects unsheltered individuals with existing services and shelter.  With new funding now available to the City, the Navigation Team will begin expanding to approximately 30 personnel in the coming months with the goal of increasing outreach to people living unsheltered and helping to connect them with safer living alternatives such as the 500 new shelter beds and tiny houses opening this year. The expanded Navigation Team will also coordinate outreach with the new City-wide effort to remove garbage and debris from roads, sidewalks, and the public right-of-way adjacent to RVs. This pilot has been engaging occupants to voluntarily move their vehicles, which allows City crews to clean and remove garbage, waste and immobile vehicles left behind. Since the pilot’s launch in May 2018, the City has collected nearly 107,020 pounds of trash.

“Every night, thousands of our neighbors sleep outside without shelter, in some of the most inhumane and dangerous conditions you can imagine, and our City relies on our Navigation Team to connect many of these individuals with services.  After two terms at the helm of FAS, Fred Podesta has graciously agreed to lead the Navigation Team. Since the launch of the Navigation Team, Fred has played a critical role in helping the City contact thousands of individuals living in tents and on our streets, and his leadership will be invaluable as we expand our work to help compassionately move more people into safer places and permanent homes,” continued Durkan.

In February 2017, the City of Seattle launched the Navigation Team–a specially-trained team comprised of outreach workers paired with Seattle Police Department (SPD) personnel, to connect unsheltered people to housing and critical resources, while helping address pervasive challenges around the issue of homelessness in Seattle. In 2017, the team made 7,300 contacts with homeless individuals.

Calvin Goings, the Chief of Staff at Seattle City Light will begin serving as the Director of FAS, pending Council confirmation, effective August 22, 2018. Prior to his role at Seattle City Light, Goings was the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) after being appointed by President Obama. In this role, he oversaw six offices in the Pacific Northwest, which distributed $7 billion in SBA guaranteed loans to small businesses and over $30 billion in federal procurement contracts. He is also a former Pierce County Councilmember and State Senator.

“FAS has an immense responsibility to serve City departments, businesses, and our community, including through the City’s Customer Service Bureau. Calvin, who was appointed by President Obama to oversee the Pacific NW’s small business loans and procurement, will be an effective leader to continue the City’s focus on customer service and grow opportunities for women- and minority-owned businessesas well as small businesses,” concluded Mayor Durkan.