Could take billions to end region’s homeless crisis according to latest estimate

The King County Regional Homeless Authority released a 5-year plan, on Jan. 18, that quotes roughly $11.8 billion to end homelessness.

The plan requires $8.4 billion in new one-time capital costs over five years and between $1.7 billion and $3.4 billion in additional annual operating costs.

The beginning of the plan outlines seven goals the KCRHA has for 2023 to 2028.

1. Dramatically reduce unsheltered homelessness.

2. Restructure the service system to improve capacity, supports, and efficiency.

3. Ensure the availability of accessible, accountable, and responsive services.

4. Reduce the impact of racism on people experiencing homelessness.

5. No family with children sleeps outside.

6. Every youth and young adult has a home.

7. The region acts as one to address homelessness.

“For the Authority to truly be successful in actualizing the promise embedded in its architecture, KCRHA must continue to unify the region so that our work truly represents the will and financial investment of all 39 cities and King County, effectively coordinated for maximum collective impact, focused on ending homelessness,” the KCRHA’s plan said. “As we work together on achieving these goals, we are driving towards a hopeful, inclusive future where every person has a safe and stable place to live. There is much to do. Let’s get started.”

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn expressed concern about the plan in a statement Thursday.

“Homelessness is a very serious problem, so it breaks my heart to see the KCRHA double down on Seattle’s failed policies on homelessness,” Dunn said. “We know from King County’s 2019 Point-in-Time Count that 45% of the homeless come here from outside our area to take advantage of our generous services. Until we come to terms with this, King County will be a dead-end street for the nation’s homelessness.”

Dunn emphasized the need for health care facilities.

“KCRHA’s jaw-dropping price tag will still fall short until we take seriously the need to instead prioritize funding from behavioral health facilities like Western State Hospital, more inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation programs, and behavioral health crisis care centers being considered by King County right now,” Dunn said.

13,386 people experienced homelessness in King County last year, according to the Point in Time Count. That makes the KCHRA cost $882,705 per homeless individual in King County, Dunn said.

The KCRHA invites the public to look over the plan and leave comments via their survey that will be open until Feb. 8 at kcrha.org/5-year-plan-opens-for-public-comment.

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