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September 19, 2005
Council Adopts Strategies to Implement
“Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness”
Blueprint Lays Out Responsibilities, Expectations of Organizations Involved in Effort  

The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved the blueprint that will guide the implementation, responsibilities and expectations for both the Committee to End Homelessness in King County and the county programs that will play key roles in the “Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County.”

“This is the map that will guide the most comprehensive plan to end homelessness ever put together for this region,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson, Chair of the Council’s Law, Justice and Human Services Committee. “It will challenge old ways of doing business and reform the ways in which government, non-profit organizations and the faith community work together to care for our most needy in King County.”

“These guidelines go beyond just getting people out from sleeping under bridges. They involve programs and agencies needed to guarantee that those receiving assistance won’t go through a revolving door back to the streets,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “We must get to work implementing this plan, because the reality and challenge we face in King County is that poverty increased by more than forty percent last year.”

“The Ten-Year Plan provides a vision for solving one of the most difficult social problems we face,” said Councilmember Carolyn Edmonds, who serves as the Council’s representative on the Committee to End Homelessness. “Building a coordinated social safety-net will benefit all people in King County and is absolutely essential to solving homelessness. But, implementing this plan will require serious public support and a determined political will. I look forward to the challenges ahead as the Committee works to transform the way we approach human services programs.” Edmonds wrote the legislation that established rules for tent cities in unincorporated areas of King County and helped lead the fight for a 2006 comprehensive human services levy.

“This plan emphasizes that getting people off the streets is just the first step in the process,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Vice Chair of the Law, Justice and Human Service Committee. “It understands that you also need to have in place—along with housing programs—the services to help solve the challenges that caused these individuals to become homeless, whether it is health care, mental health assistance or alcohol and drug treatment. These wrap around services help provide a true safety net.”

The Ten-Year Plan was written by the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. The committee was formed in 2000 to change how the community responds to homelessness by examining how to better utilize existing services, improve current policies and propose new services to end homelessness.

Founding members represented the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the city of Seattle, King County, United Way of King County, the Eastside Human Services Alliance, the North Urban Human Services Alliance, the South King County Council of Human Services and the Seattle-King County Coalition for the Homeless. A broad range of organizations and homeless advocacy groups have dedicated staff and other resources to support the efforts of the committee and continue to be involved in the plan’s implementation.

On any given night, 8,000 people are homeless in King County and 24,000 county residents will experience at least one episode of homelessness in the upcoming year. The 2004 One Night Count of King County’s homeless population showed a 13 percent increase in the number of homeless persons living on the streets or in the shelters of King County. Earlier this week, census data was released showing that poverty is up 40 percent in King County.

Federal and state governments have required that local communities create ten-year plans to end homelessness in their communities. In the 2005 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature provided a new source of funding for services and housing programs that will be implemented as part of a homeless housing plan. King County expects to receive $3 million annually from the new state program. The ordinance adopted today by the Council requires the Committee to End Homelessness to recommend programs and strategies for funding that will reduce homelessness to the King County Council by December 31, 2005.

Read more about this legislation on the King County Council’s LEGISEARCH system.
Type in “2005-0371”


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