Our community’s 5-Year Plan is the 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. Learn more.
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.
Most of our data is captured in HMIS, the Homeless Management Information System, which is a federally-required database.
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.
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 over 1,400 people into permanent housing. Our track record for using these vouchers, with a focus on helping people who were living unsheltered, is one of the best in the nation.
Partnership for Zero
Supported by a public-private partnership, this pilot program used an emergency management framework to address unsheltered homelessness in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown International District. The project has permanently housed over 200 people. 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). The project has brought over 300 people inside with a combination of temporary and permanent housing.
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.
New Shelters & New Programs
All funding opportunities for new shelters, expanded outreach, or other new programs are posted on our website, and priorities for new programs if new funding becomes available are detailed in our 5-Year Plan.
In order to open a new shelter, start a program or expand a program, funding must be secured for start-up, staffing, and ongoing operating expenses and case management. Funding goes through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) bidding process to ensure good stewardship of public funds. A service provider who receives a funding award after the RFP process may need to find a site location for a new shelter, and meet any permitting requirements and community engagement requirements. Community support for more safe places for people to live is the key to solving homelessness.