Starting with the premise that housing is a basic human need, and every human should have a safe place to live, Partnership for Zero was an extraordinary collaboration to reduce unsheltered homelessness in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown International District. 

The initial pilot program launched in February 2022, with support from the Lived Experience Coalition, the City of Seattle, King County, and a public-private partnership with King County’s business and philanthropic communities. Outreach began in the fall of 2022. 

Partnership for Zero involved:  

  • Unifying and coordinating resources through a Housing Command Center to focus our efforts on unsheltered homelessness in a specific geographic area 
  • Building a By-Name List with detailed information about what each individual needs to move to stability  
  • Identifying the necessary housing infrastructure to effectively respond to the needs of people living unsheltered  
  • Employing trained Systems Advocates together with partners in outreach to provide individualized, trusted support for people experiencing homelessness as they navigate social services and the path to permanent housing 
  • Streamlining the process of moving people into housing that matches their needs 
  • Moving people from existing encampments into housing with a 12-month lease and support from a Systems Advocate while they stabilized  

In September 2023 KCRHA and partners decided to wind down the pilot program. Thanks to the commitment of our staff and community partners, the pilot achieved significant accomplishments, working together to improve the lives of our unhoused neighbors. We also learned valuable lessons that will be integrated into KCRHA’s work across the homeless response system.  

Here are a few accomplishments: 

  • Improved data management 
  • Centralized identification of housing units 
  • Resolved six long-standing encampments and housed 231 people (213 households) that had been living unsheltered in downtown Seattle and the Chinatown/International District 
  • Held a joint services event with the state Department of Licensing, the state Department of Social and Health Services, the state Department of Health and Catholic Community Services which connected our unhoused neighbors with essential onsite documentation and services 
  • The emergency management protocols we developed were applied to address the collapse of the Lived Experience Coalition hotels and prevented returns to homelessness 

While the pilot program is ending, we continue to work with partners to support existing clients. The knowledge and learning from the program will be applied across the homeless response system as we continue to implement our Five-Year Plan.