The Durkan Digest: What We’re Doing to Connect More People Experiencing Homelessness with Services & Shelter

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Over the past year, the City of Seattle has taken some important steps to address homelessness, and we know we are having an impact: Earlier today, All Home released its final 2019 Point in Time count, which showed the first reduction of homelessness in Seattle and King County since 2012.

Still, every night, too many of our neighbors sleep outside without shelter, in inhumane and dangerous conditions, and I believe we have an obligation to bring more people off the streets and into safer places. 

Our City’s Navigation Team is on the front lines of this work. In 2018, the Navigation Team made more than 1,500 referrals to safer places like 24/7 shelters with services. The work that they are doing is saving lives and connecting people with shelter, case management, and other resources. It’s crucial that we continue to invest in their important work.  

Navigation Team member shakes hands with a man experiencing homelessness

That’s why today, I announced that we are adding four new members to the Navigation Team so they can now work to connect people to services seven days a week.

Two of these positions are newly-created System Navigators, who will help provide outreach services and shelter referrals to people living unsheltered, including in large encampments. Since I took office in November 2017, we have now expanded the Navigation from 22 members and contract outreach workers, to 38. Click here to learn more about our expansion of the Navigation Team so we can connect more people with services.

I am also encouraged that this legislative session, leaders in Olympia committed over $1 million in funding to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for addressing homelessness in WSDOT’s right-of-way along I-5 and I-90 in Seattle. This has been a top priority for me and the City of Seattle. With these vital new state resources in place in July, we will continue to work with our partners at WSDOT to address homelessness in the state’s right-of-way in Seattle.

As I’ve shared with you before, this is a regional crisis that demands a regional response. That’s why King County Executive Constantine and I are also continuing our work to unite our region’s homelessness response. We are forging a new path forward to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.

As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.

Sincerely,

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan's Signature

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.