King County, Seattle leaders propose regional authority to fight homelessness

Leaders from King County and Seattle are teaming up for a new approach to the homeless crisis.

SEATTLE — Leaders from King County and Seattle are teaming up for a new approach to the homeless crisis.

They are leading a movement to create a new regional authority to oversee solutions for homelessness.

The announcement made at a news conference Wednesday morning by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was short on details but said the authority would consist of a board of 11 appointed people. (Watch it below)

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The plan to collectively assume control over homeless shelters contracted with Seattle and King County will be pitched to both councils.

Money for the suggested program -- $73 million from Seattle and at least $55 million from King County – will have to come from somewhere in the budgets.

Supporters include United Way of King County, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, Chief Seattle Club, Ballmer Group, Campion Advocacy Fund, Vulcan, A Way Home Washington and others.

According to a news release about the effort, supporters signed a letter in June urging Durkan, Constantine and their respective council members to quickly create a unified authority “that is independent and empowered to act with the urgency required, is made up of individuals with relevant expertise to set policy and make funding decisions, and will prioritize evidence-based best practices.”

Criticism of the plan is coming from King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who's asking what programs will lose money in order to pay for the new program, and why taxpayers will support another bureaucracy that is appointed and not elected.

Specific legislation to set up and fund the new authority will be forthcoming.

KIRO 7 Reporter Linzi Sheldon is digging into the specifics of the plan for a live report at 6 p.m.  Watch on TV or at this link  >>

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