King County, Seattle sign agreement to improve homelessness coordination

May 3, 2018


King County and the City of Seattle today signed an agreement to increase coordination of homeless services, planning and reporting. The agreement also establishes the Homeless Services and Housing Governance Partnership between King County, Seattle, All Home and regional partners to improve outcomes and accountability for the future.


King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Seattle and King County to increase collaboration of homelessness services and set a path for governance reforms to better coordinate investments region-wide. 

“To make the biggest impact for people most in need, we must improve and strengthen our planning and funding of housing and services,” said Executive Constantine. “This agreement will guide key budget and planning discussions for the county, local cities, and regional partners. It also sets up key discussions about governance. To achieve the shared vision of making homelessness rare, brief and one-time, we must make regional coordination stronger and more effective in producing the outcomes we all want.”

“With a worsening crisis, we need one consolidated system that has governance, authority and resources to address this problem,” said Mayor Durkan. “We’re acting to move our City and region toward a more coordinated, effective, systematic effort to address our homelessness crisis. With this agreement, we’re taking the first step towards a new approach that will better serve our neighbors in need.”

Mayor Durkan and Executive Constantine agreed to the following immediate action steps:

  • Coordinate in advance on all Requests for Proposals (RFPs) related to homelessness from the signing of this MOU to 2020
  • Use joint contract language and joint monitoring of programs on all RFPs for the same time period.
  • Develop system improvements to the regional Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to align data, performance and evaluation efforts across the city and county, and engage regional partners and regional tech businesses on best practices for improving current data sharing and analytical tools. This effort builds on ongoing work to improve public-facing dashboards and reporting tools to allow the public and decision-makers to better track progress and outcomes for programs serving homeless populations. 

The MOU also establishes the Homeless Services and Housing Governance Partnership consisting of City and County staff, All Home, and regional partners. The overarching goals of the partnership are to strengthen coordination, accountability, equity and improve outcomes for people who are experiencing homelessness. The new governance partnership will take on the following tasks:

  • Review current homeless service systems and housing investments to identify existing service gaps and duplicative efforts between the County and the City.
  • Set principles and outcomes that a new system governing homeless services and housing investments should address.
  • Engage stakeholders to discuss desired revisions to the existing governing system to better serve persons who are homeless.
  • Work with cities, providers and other regional partners to ensure coordinated investments provide a comprehensive network of services countywide.
  • Study models governing public health, homeless services and housing investments in other U.S. cities to explore elements of alternate governance models that could be implemented here to achieve the desired outcomes
  • Establish shared budget priorities and joint planning efforts to meet the needs of King County and Seattle’s homeless populations.
  • By Dec.1, 2018, forward governance recommendations to the King County Executive and Mayor of Seattle regarding potential system revisions to increase the effectiveness, reach and efficiency of the countywide homelessness system.

While Seattle has the largest concentration of individuals experiencing homelessness, homelessness is a regional problem and a shared crisis affecting all of the county’s municipalities. It is increasingly important to coordinate efforts and investments countywide to achieve the maximum regional benefit.  

All Home, the federally-recognized Seattle/King County Continuum of Care, has been responsible for coordinating homeless service investments in the King County region. Several committees, including a Coordinating Board, work to bring the community together around the shared goals of eliminating racial disparities and making homelessness rare, and if one becomes homeless it is brief and only a one-time occurrence. All Home partners are committed to these goals.

The Homeless Services and Housing Governance Partnership will work closely with stakeholders countywide to make the regional homelessness systems more resilient, responsive, equitable, effective and accountable.