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Statement by Mayor Jenny Durkan on the Vote by the King County Council’s Regional Policy Committee to Advance A Regional Approach to Homelessness

Seattle (December 5, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan issued the following statement today following the vote by the King County Council’s Regional Policy Committee to advance a regional approach to homelessness:

“Our region needs one unified system that has the governance, authority, and resources to deliver to people experiencing homelessness. Since May of 2018, Executive Constantine and I have worked closely together to move forward on a bold plan to consolidate our fractured homelessness response, centering our plan on the individuals experiencing homelessness and frontline service providers. So many have worked on the issue for many years understanding that the status quo is not acceptable.

“Bringing together One Table, National Innovation Service, and a series of working groups, we began creating a regional shared vision that brought everyone to the table. Creating a unified entity has been a monumental endeavor, and it has required all of us to listen to one another to move forward on what is best to address this crisis in our communities and region.

“After extensive engagement, Executive Constantine and I introduced our proposal. Since August, there’s been valuable input and feedback from service providers, people with lived experience, Mayors, elected officials, City Councilmembers, County Councilmembers, and Sound Cities Association members who have been part of the working group as well as the Regional Policy Committee.

“I applaud the members of the Regional Policy Committee for moving the proposal forward. Our crisis doesn’t end at our City borders, and we have seen suburban cities committed to this new regional entity. Their support of this plan reflects our shared principles and sets us down the path of embracing this chance to more effectively address homelessness in the region.

“In the coming days, both the King County Council and Seattle City Council will undertake consideration of this proposal, and I appreciate their continued input. In line with our financial commitment, the City of Seattle will have a strong voice on the Governing Board and appointments to the Implementation Board, but our Council maintains complete ultimate authority through our budget process. If we find the new approach and structure does not provide results, we can and should make changes.

“As we aim to start the new entity, I will continue to listen on how we can continue to improve. We must seize this chance to act for our region after nearly a decade of discussion.”