Serving King County
Every person deserves a safe and stable place to live. Building on the Puget Sound region’s spirit of innovation and vision of shared prosperity, the KCRHA was designed to unify and coordinate policy, funding, and services for people experiencing homelessness across all of King County.
Our theory of change: If we create a homelessness response system that centers people who have lived experience of homelessness, then we will be able to meet needs and eliminate inequities, in order to end homelessness for all.
Our founding legislation: Read the Interlocal Agreement.
What we stand for:
We believe that it is possible to end homelessness.
Homelessness can happen to anyone, and housing is a basic human need that everyone should have access to. We believe in a hopeful, inclusive future where everyone has a safe and stable place to live.
Racial equity & social justice
Homelessness disproportionately harms people of color. We use an equity-based decision making framework to proactively dismantle structural racism and advance equity.
Centering lived experience
Accountability to people experiencing homelessness is one of the primary reasons that KCRHA was created. We work to design a system that takes into account the full range of needs, barriers, and assets of people experiencing homelessness, recognizing that people have specific needs based on individual circumstances. This approach is woven into all of our work.
Collaboration and partnership
Everything we do involves community, and we invite you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Theory of Change
The Regional Homelessness Authority has a human-centered theory of change that guides our work: If we create a homeless response system that centers people with lived experience, then we will be able to meet needs and eliminate inequities, in order to end homelessness for all.
Unified & Coordinated
The Regional Homelessness Authority, which started up operations in mid-2021, is unifying and coordinating what was previously a fragmented approach—there were many programs, but they weren’t connected or coordinated towards consistent goals. We heard from people with personal experience that the old system’s services were geographically and administratively disconnected, data collection was duplicative, burdensome, or not useful, and people sometimes faced dead ends rather than meaningful support.
The RHA is transforming a fragmented series of programs and departments into a unified, streamlined and coordinated system, built on equity and social justice principles, centering the voices of those most affected. With the creation of the RHA for Seattle and King County, and as more cities in our region sign on to this approach, we are consolidating policy-making and funding, coordinating service delivery, and adopting common performance measures to ensure accountability.
Centering Lived Experience
The RHA is explicit about centering the perspectives of people who have personal, lived experience with homelessness. Personal experience with homelessness provides insights into how the system works (or doesn’t work) that are based in real life. Centering lived experience follows the social justice maxim of “nothing about us without us,” and recognizes that people have specific needs based on individual circumstances. The addition of an Ombuds Office also gives people experiencing homelessness a central point-of-contact for seeking service improvements.
Centering lived experience also recognizes the structural racism that has perpetuated the racially disparate impacts of homelessness. The RHA uses an equity-based decision-making framework in all our efforts, which means identifying existing inequities and power dynamics, acting with transparency and accountability, and proactively working to dismantle structural racism and advance equity.
The RHA administers programs and services including:
- Outreach to people experiencing homelessness
- Diversion and prevention of homelessness for persons at imminent risk of housing loss
- Emergency Shelter
- Rapid Rehousing
- Coordinated Entry
- Services associated with Permanent Supportive Housing
- Strategic planning, system administration, data and performance measurement.
Community engagement is a core part of all our work, and sharing accurate information about the causes of and solutions to homelessness is vital. If you are interested in having us come speak with your organization, please contact us here or by emailing email@example.com. We also encourage you to sign up for our newsletter, and visit We Are In for other ways to get involved.
Our Sub-Regional Planning Team is also out in the community regularly, working with elected officials, city human services staff, homeless service providers, and people with lived experience in all 39 cities and unincorporated King County. The team attends over 20 coalition and regional tables to provide updates and receive feedback from partners.
The work that led up to the creation of the RHA was also community-driven. People with lived experience of homelessness, equity experts, and front-line service providers were key participants throughout the planning and design for the creation of a Regional Homelessness Authority. This began with the 2018 audit of the current system, resulting in the December report by the National Innovation Service. More than 200 people with personal lived experience, front-line provider staff and experience in applying equity and social justice principles participated in workshops and focus groups, resulting in the call for a consolidated regional authority.
Successfully ending homelessness requires partnership and community support, so we will continue to seek out opportunities for community engagement and input as we move forward. We look forward to having a conversation with you!
Each city and sub-region in King County has its own strengths, characteristics, gaps and priorities, but we all share a desire for thriving communities, and we all agree that every person deserves to have a safe and stable place to live.
Together with partners, we have identified seven distinct sub-regions, and have Sub-Regional planning staff dedicated to these distinct parts of the county. Cities and sub-regions have the option of signing an administrative service agreement with the RHA, in order to further unify and coordinate services across King County. Cities outside of Seattle are also represented on our Governing Committee by the Sound Cities Association.
Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis in our community and it demands urgent, pragmatic, coordinated and comprehensive regional action that treats this emergency like an emergency. We have years of analysis and reports—from national experts to local auditors—showing that program, policy and funding fragmentation limits the ability to improve our response to the crisis. In a region known for innovation and prosperity, there is no excuse for waiting any longer. Now is the time to act.