Seattle mayor releases homelessness action plan

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell released a homeless action plan on Tuesday, providing details of his office’s approach to the issue of homelessness in the city.

The plan included a dashboard of new data that had not been previously released to the public.

“Issues created over decades cannot be solved overnight, but we must reject the status quo where people are left to suffer unsheltered on sidewalks and in parks. By acting with urgency and compassion we can – and will – move from crisis response to stability and sustainability,” Harrell said. “Seattle residents deserve to see a plan and progress. With a new level of transparency, the One Seattle Homelessness Action Plan was designed to display informative and important data and provide a roadmap for how the city is making progress on this crisis – today and in the long-term.”

With objectives to get people indoors, create places for people to live and develop solutions to sustain progress, the plan combines multiple city departments to streamline and organize the homelessness response.

The action plan includes providing $118 million to the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) in 2022, to develop, communicate and execute a strategy to combat homelessness in the city.

Encampment sites will be surveyed, inspected and verified, with the public being provided a map showing concentrations of encampments in their neighborhoods.

The plan looks to provide outreach to help move people indoors, while tracking offers of shelter.

After determining which encampments to address, the spaces that those encampments occupy will be restored after they are closed.

The plan would like to identify an additional 700 units of shelter by the end of the year, adding to the 1300 units that have already been identified this year.

Harrell’s office would like to build affordable housing faster by setting a one-year deadline for approval on all permits related to construction.

Additionally, the announcement included a report of the purchase of the Dockside Apartments, which will provide permanent housing for 70 people experiencing homelessness this summer.

“We know access to housing is both a symptom of and a solution to the homelessness crisis,” Harrell said. “This plan prioritizes creating new affordable housing and meeting immediate shelter and housing needs. Both are critical to our mission to bring people indoors and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. Dockside is a great example of how we can strategically deploy our resources to make an immediate impact, as we continue toward our goal of identifying 2000 new units for people experiencing homelessness this year.”

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