Marc Dones joins King County Regional Homelessness Authority as Chief Executive Officer

Marc Dones, a national expert on homelessness, system transformation and racial justice, has been selected to serve as the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), starting April 26, 2021. As CEO, Dones will lead the coordination and implementation of programs and services that improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness, and consolidate budgets for a more coordinated response to homelessness countywide.  Read more about Marc in the Seattle Times and in Real Change.

Marc Dones, Chief Executive Officer, King County Regional Homelessness Authority

“I am honored to accept the role of CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority,” said Dones. “The work ahead of us will not be easy, but I am confident we will come together as a region to end homelessness. It is critical that as the Authority advances this work, we do so with a focus on racial justice and the voices of those who are most impacted. Those tenets will be the foundation for the Authority, and I look forward to working with leaders across King County to make that vision a reality.”

Dones received unanimous support in favor of their appointment by both of the KCRHA leadership bodies. The KCRHA Implementation Board voted March 10, 2021 to approve and forward Dones’ nomination, which was followed by the Governing Committee’s approval.     

Marc Dones is a social entrepreneur, policy strategist, and social justice activist with over 10 years of experience in equitable systems transformation across local, state, and federal government systems.

As the Founder and Executive Director of the National Innovation Service (NIS), Marc oversaw day-to-day operations and strategy for policy, community engagement and design, as well as operations and business development.

Prior to launching NIS, Marc held various roles in social impact, specializing in policy, program design, and continuous improvement. This includes leadership roles at Future Laboratories and the Center for Social Innovation (C4). At C4, they developed and launched the SPARC (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities) Initiative, engaging 8+ jurisdictions, 20+ agencies, and the U.S. government in efforts to transform the national conversation about housing to include a focus on racism and racial justice. They also served in various roles at the state-level, including working on the design and implementation of Governor Deval Patrick’s $10M/year youth violence reduction program in 11 cities across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  

Outside of direct systems transformation, Marc is on the faculty for the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and leverages their experience as a keynote speaker and panelist across the country. They have spoken at the White House and at Harvard University. Marc has also authored or co-authored several papers and book chapters on the subjects of racism, homelessness, mental health, and systems transformation. Marc holds a degree in Psychiatric Anthropology from New York University.

With the hiring of the CEO completed, the KCHRA will move forward with operational next steps, including a staffing plan to fulfill the KCRHA roles and functions. Dones will join the KCRHA on April 26, 2021.

“I am honored to accept the role of CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority,” said Marc Dones. “The work ahead of us will not be easy, but I am confident we will come together as a region to end homelessness. It is critical that as the Authority advances this work, we do so with a focus on racial justice and the voices of those who are most impacted. Those tenets will be the foundation for the Authority, and I look forward to working with leaders across King County to make that vision a reality.” -Marc Dones, Chief Executive Officer, King County Regional Homelessness Authority

“Marc has a challenging job in front of them, but thankfully brings to this position a deep understanding of the Authority’s purpose and a strong record of centering equity and social justice in this work. Our region is ready and committed to doing what is necessary to house and support the members of our community experiencing homelessness. I am confident that Marc will work effectively with the Governing Committee toward this goal, as well as with providers, advocates, those with lived experience, and those currently in need of housing throughout the region.” -Dow Constantine, King County Executive and co-chair KCRHA Governing Committee

Marc Dones is the right person for this job and will make immediate impacts in helping our region address this crisis. Their extensive experience working with the King County homeless community advocates, elected officials, and people with lived experience was the foundation for forming the Regional Authority. Marc has established relationships and a deep understanding of what it took to get here. They recognize that while the work is challenging, we must address it with compassion, urgency, transparency, and ensuring that those impacted can quickly receive services in the communities where they become housing insecure. As the person who helped us design the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, Marc can lead our region through our most complex challenge, especially as we emerge from COVID-19.-Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle and co-chair KCRHA Governing Committee

“We are once again on the right path to actualizing housing as a human right and ensuring every citizen in King County can thrive. Marc Dones will be instrumental in the fight for the soul of King County and I look forward to being a part and bearing moral witness to our work together.” -Johnathon Hemphill, Lived Experience Coalition and co-chair KCRHA Governing Committee

“I am looking forward to working with Marc on a host of issues, especially sub- regional planning as it is an important mechanism to ensure we hear from all parts of the county.-Ed Prince, Councilmember, City of Renton and co-chair KCRHA Governing Committee

“Someone we’ve referred to as ‘The Architect,’ Marc built the framework for this authority. For Marc, this is an opportunity for them to have helped craft the foundation of this authority with us, and now be able to tackle all of the opportunities and challenges we have before us as our inaugural CEO.” -Nate Caminos, Director of Government Relations for the Port of Seattle and co-chair KCRHA Implementation Board

“I am so happy to welcome Marc Dones as our new CEO. With Marc on board, I believe we can get to work, take action to get people off the street and achieve this through a truly regional response. The Implementation Board is excited to work with Marc and all of our communities countywide to make sure no voice is left out as we move this important work forward.” -Harold Odom, Lived Experience Coalition and co-chair KCRHA Implementation Board

6 comments

  1. I need your help to get into section 8 or housing program you make contact me at 253-409-5370 Benny Sawyer thank you be blessed

  2. Seven reasons why prior and future response attempts to the so-called homelessness crisis have a low probability of success
    1. The term “Homelessness” (and the newer sanitized versions, unsheltered/shelter less) is too narrow in scope to describe the crisis. “Urban Refugee” is more apt in title and all-encompassing of what it will take to manage the crisis to the success of the refugee, compassionate citizenry and business;
    2. The absence of the word “effectiveness” in the lead title and lead sentence of the Mission Statement;
    3. As well intentioned as the new version of “behavioral health’ is, it operates as a 50s-60s-70s traditional Medical Model; fostering care and treatment services and service delivery systems models which have minimal staff accountability for results and encourage an Urban Refugee “excuse model” suggesting previous life events as excuses to steal, vandalize, create fear, be violent, not study, not learn, not work, not practice personal health & sanitation and not practice community sanitation;
    4a. Absence of accountability. One of the first questions to pose when assessing a program service delivery operation is, “Who is responsible for a particular refugee”. The response most likely will be: a) “I don’t know who is responsible”, or b) “I’m only responsible for this service/care or time period”. Most likely a visit with any one or two staff would not elicit a refugee’s physical location, how a refugee is physically doing, what health, education, work or special development services they participated in this day and whether the refugee is progressing or digressing. No one is responsible for a specific refugee and all aspects of their daily life safety, health, and happiness;
    4b. Traditional organizational structure: Organizational structure is exemplified by specialties such as psychiatry, medicine, psychology, social work, drug treatment, residential care, food service, recreation, employment, maintenance, etc. They communicate to make decisions about refugee goals, progress, future and needs. Besides the common problems of professional “pecking order” and conflicting action plans; four other problems often occur: a) less attention is paid to the quality of 24/7 staff hired to engage the refugee since professional therapies are believed to be the most significant; b) training becomes less of a necessity for 24/7 staff hired to engage the refugee since the “cure” will occur elsewhere; c) more refugees can be served because the “professional” can visit many refugees for individual or group therapy hours, indirectly justifying 20 to 40 refugees in a residential setting; and d) most available organization money is spent on administration & “professionals” rather than 24/7 day-to-day engagement & care of the refugee;
    5. Over reliance on current mental/behavioral health. Approximately 50% of mental health and drug and alcohol staff can be effective at engaging, assisting, and influencing the broad range of refugee needs and manipulations. Approximately 10% of the mental health and drug and alcohol delivery systems are effectively designed;
    6. Contingencies for change and development of desired refugee behavior is lacking in cost/benefit application immediacy, specificity, and strength. “Successful outcomes are evidence that we do not need more powerful consequences, but more precise contingencies.” (T. Risley, 1979);
    7. Refugee socialization to reasonable & desirable levels of public community behavior is often staff suggestion, cajoling, threating and practicing “understanding”. Social validity: the case for subjective measurement (MM Wolf, 1978) offers a simple exercise defining culturally relevant socialization standards. What’s missing is active individualized direct-instruction of social, living, work and health skills with the refugee in a 24/7 sheltered context to maximize adoption and practice of the skills to high frequency levels of refugee choice.
    Ignoring these seven reasons and managing the crisis by mucking around in the existing splintered attempts (including the idiocy of creating a Regional Homelessness Authority – can you imagine Ray Kroc opening 50 McDonalds burger sites without knowing how to prepare efficiently and effectively a single hamburger) will result in more wasted refugee lives and citizen compassion.
    Richard L. Baron
    Founded Responsive Management Systems® in 1985
    Make America Kind Again
    http://www.responsivemgt.com/makeamericakindagain.html
    Black Life Matters
    Brown Bodies Matter
    White Bodies Must Change

  3. Congratulations Marc Dones! I hope going forward that the 2022 contracts will contain clauses for accountability, auditing, reports, etc., so that we can be confident that resources allocated produce some effective solutions to the homeless situation, and if not, programs are either revised or culled. As an average, King County citizen taxpayer, It feels like there has been a lack of transparency, and the situation has felt to be worsening. I’m excited to see the new regional authority’s work in the coming year and wish you the best of luck!

    1. Seven reasons why prior and future response attempts to the so-called homelessness crisis have a low probability of success

      1. The term “Homelessness” (and the newer sanitized versions, unsheltered/shelter less) is too narrow in scope to describe the crisis. “Urban Refugee” is more apt in title and all-encompassing of what it will take to manage the crisis to the success of the refugee, compassionate citizenry and business;

      2. The absence of the word “effectiveness” in the lead title and lead sentence of the Mission Statement;

      3. As well intentioned as the new version of “behavioral health’ is, it operates as a 50s-60s-70s traditional Medical Model; fostering care and treatment services and service delivery systems models which have minimal staff accountability for results and encourage an Urban Refugee “excuse model” suggesting previous life events as excuses to steal, vandalize, create fear, be violent, not study, not learn, not work, not practice personal health & sanitation and not practice community sanitation;

      4a. Absence of accountability. One of the first questions to pose when assessing a program service delivery operation is, “Who is responsible for a particular refugee”. The response most likely will be: a) “I don’t know who is responsible”, or b) “I’m only responsible for this service/care or time period”. Most likely a visit with any one or two staff would not elicit a refugee’s physical location, how a refugee is physically doing, what health, education, work or special development services they participated in this day and whether the refugee is progressing or digressing. No one is responsible for a specific refugee and all aspects of their daily life safety, health, and happiness;

      4b. Traditional organizational structure: Organizational structure is exemplified by specialties such as psychiatry, medicine, psychology, social work, drug treatment, residential care, food service, recreation, employment, maintenance, etc. They communicate to make decisions about refugee goals, progress, future and needs. Besides the common problems of professional “pecking order” and conflicting action plans; four other problems often occur: a) less attention is paid to the quality of 24/7 staff hired to engage the refugee since professional therapies are believed to be the most significant; b) training becomes less of a necessity for 24/7 staff hired to engage the refugee since the “cure” will occur elsewhere; c) more refugees can be served because the “professional” can visit many refugees for individual or group therapy hours, indirectly justifying 20 to 40 refugees in a residential setting; and d) most available organization money is spent on administration & “professionals” rather than 24/7 day-to-day engagement & care of the refugee;

      5. Over reliance on current mental/behavioral health. Approximately 50% of mental health and drug and alcohol staff can be effective at engaging, assisting, and influencing the broad range of refugee needs and manipulations. Approximately 10% of the mental health and drug and alcohol delivery systems are effectively designed;

      6. Contingencies for change and development of desired refugee behavior is lacking in cost/benefit application immediacy, specificity, and strength. “Successful outcomes are evidence that we do not need more powerful consequences, but more precise contingencies.” (T. Risley, 1979);

      7. Refugee socialization to reasonable & desirable levels of public community behavior is often staff suggestion, cajoling, threating and practicing “understanding”. Social validity: the case for subjective measurement (MM Wolf, 1978) offers a simple exercise defining culturally relevant socialization standards. What’s missing is active individualized direct-instruction of social, living, work and health skills with the refugee in a 24/7 sheltered context to maximize adoption and practice of the skills to high frequency levels of refugee choice.

      Ignoring these seven reasons and managing the crisis by mucking around in the existing splintered attempts (including the idiocy of creating a Regional Homelessness Authority – can you imagine Ray Kroc opening 50 McDonalds burger sites without knowing how to prepare efficiently and effectively a single hamburger) will result in more wasted refugee lives and citizen compassion.

      Richard L. Baron

    2. The State’s Urban Refugee – A Continuing Crises with Some “New” Thinkers…and New Action…but…

      The Urban Refugee – A Continuing Crises with Some “New” Thinkers…and New Action…but…The Need for a Different Model: The Shift from “Shelter” to “Shelter-Effective In-residence Immersion Programming”

      It appears there might be some new “thinkers”. However, progress is going to come to a grinding halt with the current fixed “shelter” accommodations model. Urban Refugee efforts might be better spent on designing and executing stable transitory housing such as small (15 – 20 refugees) non-permanent, de-encampment living situation that can be time-efficiently replicated with fidelity and gradually build up (scale) to a “comprehensive” permanent system. (This model does not include current City/County permitted village models adopted and funded by the certain jurisdictions);

      The tried-and-(maybe not) true approach of “more resources into mental health and addiction” services unless programmed and deployed differently than now, has a high probability of becoming more wasted resources and unfulfilled outcomes. An Urban Refugee, like any other individual person experiencing problems with living, will achieve significant and meaningful change only with high levels of real-time exposure to the same skilled people who consistently apply the same compassion, needed support (basic life needs, behavioral, cognitive & physical health, emotional, legal, educational, etc.), application of community living standards and life skills instruction.

      A crisis suggests the need for a 24/7 individual/family on-site crisis support/intervention…

      I would encourage the State to shift from an emphasis on a “stable housing” model to a “crisis living conditions” model or “Urban Refugee” model and redirect at least 80% of all resources (personnel, financial and otherwise) currently focused on “Homelessness”. Model characteristics would include:

      1. Language Change: “Homeless” to something like “Urban Refugee” and “Homeless Camp/Shelter” to something like “Urban Refugee Neighborhood Hospice” in adopting a refugee model;

      2. Develop Neighborhood Hospice Facilities: permanent or temporary (disaster shelter) structure(s) – soft or hard walled, with controlled entry/exit and a secure hospice with in/out restrictions, metal detectors, water, solid waste and electric utilities, ADA combination toilet/shower mobile comfort station for sanitation and health and a mobile field kitchen for food preparation and/or service;

      3. Neighborhood Hospice Guests: Single adult or family; maximum of 12 guests per Hospice;

      4. Neighborhood Siting: Ideal methods of involvement for religion-based organizations, corporations, civic organizations, estates, or other entities with real property or access to real property;

      5. Neighborhood Hospice Staffing: 24/7 non-volunteer – Monday-Friday 8 am to 11 PM double staffing, responsible as a team for establishing, coordinating, executing the fulfillment
      of all basic life supports (i.e. relationship, shelter, food, clothing, health, social, education, employment & job skills, legal, language assistance, transportation and developing community responsibility) and establishing accountability;

      6. Neighborhood Hospice Guest Referral Process (using Seattle as an example): Escort individual from existing “camp” site to centralized location for cleanliness triage; physical health triage, cognitive stability triage, clothing triage, critical food needs. Neighborhood Hospice Guest Photo ID Card preparation followed by escorting guest to one of 40 Hospices in each of the eight Council areas of Seattle (8 Districts x 40 Hospices x 12 Guests = 3840 Urban Refugees);

      7. Abridged Neighborhood Hospice Operating Model: Staff and Guest structured processes and procedures necessary for establishing, coordinating and executing the fulfillment of a Guest’s basic life needs (i.e. relationship, shelter, food, clothing, health, social, community responsibility and accountability, educational and job skills, legal, language assistance and transportation) would be required of all Hospices;

      8. Measurement: Inclusion of process, outcome & fidelity measures to improve implementation and operational consistency. Suggested variables measured would be those associated with Neighborhood Hospice Staff creating a Hospice Environment that: (a) produces individual Guest satisfaction, (b) Guest improvement in strategic, academic, employment and interpersonal skills and (c) Guest improvement in Guest’s life purpose and values;

      9. Neighborhood Hospice Staff would provide on-demand individual problem solving counseling, manage and participate in, a semi self-government system and establish and manage an artificial incentive system to encourage community & socially appropriate and effective individual & group decision making, life choices & community responsibilities and discourage socially & community inappropriate and ineffective individual & group decision making and life choices;

      10. Obligatory Model: Beginning with volunteer Urban Refugees; modeling and word-of mouth will build greater consensus that a Neighborhood Hospice is a desirable place to live until permanent housing can be established. As volunteer Urban Refugee numbers decrease the population of non-volunteer Urban Refugees presence will increase and the model will begin to shift to an obligatory model.

      Continued dominance of current thinking and actions for resolving “Homelessness” assures Basic Needs of a sizeable portion of the Urban Refugee population will not be met, Basic Rights of the Urban Refugee will not protected and Basic Community Responsibilities required of the Urban Refugee will not be fulfilled.

      Regards,
      Dick
      Make America Kind Again http://www.responsivemgt.com/makeamericakindagain.html

      Richard L. Baron has been a citizen of Seattle since 1985 – Initial draft 2017 (Rev. 6 15 2020)

  4. Hi Marc, congratulations on the appointment of CEO for the KCRHA. You have my best wishes for success in what is a most daunting challenge. I have very high hopes that you’ll be able to effect some positive change and forward progress for the unsheltered in King County. With that in mind, I’m curious which of the two Seattle mayoral candidates are you most looking forward to working with? Totally understand that’s kind of a loaded question and you might be hesitant to answer. It might help to know I’m not a reporter or blogger. In any event, I wish you all the best for success. Take care, Dawn

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