5 Year Plan
The RHA is developing a 5-Year Plan, to be our community’s path forward for dramatically reducing unsheltered homelessness. It is a roadmap for our team, and for service providers, advocates, policymakers, and our community as a whole.
Our agency’s focus is squarely on dramatically reducing unsheltered homelessness — and so our Plan’s primary emphasis is on that goal. It also includes a full picture of the scale of homelessness in King County, and though not a budget request, it does outline the costs associated with solving this crisis.
Data from HMIS shows that 5,600 people moved from homelessness to permanently housed during 2022, an increase over the last two years. That number will keep going up as we house more people in 2023.
The latest integrated data analysis shows at least 40,000 people are experiencing homelessness in King County. This data hits the reset button on our response, and calls for significantly more investment in the tools, services, and workforce required to ensure that every person has access to basic needs.
Through our Understanding Unsheltered Homelessness Project, we engaged nearly 600 people to learn more about the experience of living unsheltered in different parts of King County. This information is integrated into the 5-Year Plan, and ensures that we center the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness in order to improve the system.
We are working towards better data capacity with shelter and outreach providers, including real-time shelter availability, and a county-wide “By Name List” that will be privacy-protected and include information about who is homeless, where they are, which service providers are involved, and what they need, to facilitate matching with services, shelter and housing. A By Name List turns numbers back into people, and the information follows the person, similar to secure electronic medical records.
Emergency Housing Vouchers
Thanks to federally-funded Emergency Housing Vouchers, and strong partnerships with the three local public housing authorities, we have moved 1,385 people into permanent housing. Our track record for using these vouchers, with a focus on helping people who are unsheltered, is one of the best in the nation.
Partnership for Zero
Supported by a public-private partnership, we are using an emergency management framework to work towards “functional zero” homelessness on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, starting with Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown International District. Learn more.
State Right of Way Safety Initiative
We’re bringing people living on state highways inside, with an emphasis on permanent housing, thanks to state funding for intensive outreach and housing through a collaborative effort between the Washington State departments of Commerce and Transportation, the Washington State Patrol, and the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA).
Thanks to a grant from We Are In, we have a team of Systems Advocates (also known as Peer Navigators) to ensure that people living unsheltered have an ally who will stick with them from homeless to housed. The Systems Advocates Team is focusing their efforts on Partnership for Zero.
Partnerships for Health Care
In order to address visible homelessness, we must work across government agencies and private partners to meet the needs of people in acute behavioral health crises and people with co-occurring disorders or substance use disorders. To make progress on these goals, we work closely with Public Health of Seattle King County and the King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division.
All funding opportunities for new programs are posted on our website, and we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and read our blog to stay informed.