King County Executive Dow Constantine announced a series of actions to confront homelessness and create additional affordable housing, building on the work he’s already done since declaring a state of emergency in November.
The Executive’s latest actions will increase shelter capacity in South and East King County, create an additional 237 units of affordable housing, and provide rental assistance to those who used to be homeless, military veterans, immigrants and refugees, and families fleeing domestic violence.
It also includes $10 million to connect people to services that help them succeed once they find a home.
“We continue to take action to help those who are homeless today, and prevent children and families from falling into homelessness tomorrow,” said Executive Constantine. “This humanitarian crisis requires a comprehensive, prevention-oriented approach that crosses all levels of government working with community partners. We’re delivering results at the local level—now we need our Legislature and Congress to join us.”
The Executive’s actions include:
- $280,000 in emergency funding to expand shelter capacity and access in South and East King County and create a day center in South King County.
- $7 million for capital projects that will create an additional 237 units of affordable housing, including units reserved for military veterans and formerly homeless residents.
- $10 million in rental assistance, funds to operate affordable housing so that it is a positive asset in the community, and funds for support services to help families and individuals remain stably housed through case management, help finding employment, education, and other services.
In December, Executive Constantine, with support from the Metropolitan King County Council, tripled the number of homeless shelter beds inside two county-owned buildings located in downtown Seattle. The additional bed space and extended hours and days at existing shelters announced today will be located in South and East King County.
“Today’s action will help to ensure affordable housing in south King County, and it marks another important step towards the revitalization of the Sunset area here in the City of Renton,” said King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, who represents part of Renton. “I want to thank Dow Constantine for taking a leadership role in working to fight homelessness and look forward to working with the Executive and my colleagues on the King County Council to make sure affordable housing is available across the county.”
The additional shelter capacity and services include:
- A new day center in Federal Way for homeless men and women that will refer residents to overnight shelter, meals, hygiene, mail and referrals to services for mental illness and chemical dependency.
- Keeping an Eastside women’s winter shelter open for additional two months this year.
- Additional beds for homeless youth and young adults at an overnight shelter on the Eastside.
- A day center and drop-in facility for homeless youth and young adults in Auburn will now be open during weekends.
The capital projects will create multi-family housing for lower-income residents, seniors, and homeless youth. The largest project will be 91 new units for lower-income seniors in Kirkland. It will also create 50 new units for families in Renton and will provide $210,000 for down payment assistance.
There are multiple funding sources:
- The capital projects will be paid for with federal funds, fees collected when the county documents real-estate transactions, and the Veterans and Human Services levy.
- Most of the funding for services will come from revenue generated by document reporting fees, the Veterans and Human Services levy, and the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency fund, or MIDD. The awards include 90 Section 8 housing vouchers: 10 project-based vouches from the Seattle Housing Authority.
- The funds to expand shelter capacity in East and South King County will mostly come from fees collected when the county documents real-estate transactions.
In his role as Chair of the Sound Transit Board, Executive Constantine will include funding for affordable housing in the Sound Transit 3 initiative he proposed for the November ballot. That would build upon the actions he’s already taken to createaffordable workforce housing based around transit centers.
This spring, Executive Constantine will deliver to the County Council a plan to implement a program to prevent children and family homelessness. It will be the first program to be funded by the Executive’s Best Starts for Kids initiative, a levy that voters approved in November.