Monday November 2, Seattle Mayor Murray and King County Executive Constantine issued declarations that homelessness is in a state of emergency in King County, and outlined local actions, including shelter, prevention, outreach, and they will call on the State and Federal governments to do more.
This act of leadership by Mayor Murray and Executive Constantine represents a significant step toward implementing the All Home Strategic Plan. Their joint requests of the State and Federal government are action steps toward our strategies for addressing the root causes of homelessness, and support our goal of making homelessness rare. Their commitments of local resources are action steps toward our strategies for addressing the immediate crisis of homelessness, and making it brief and only a one-time occurrence.
Los Angeles, Portland, and the State of Hawaii have also recently issued declarations that homelessness is in a state of emergency. Seattle and King County’s declarations go one step further. In addition to local action, the declarations make significant requests of the State and Federal governments. Homelessness knows no borders, and requires synergy of local, state, and federal partners. The effort to end veteran homelessness is a good example of how this can work. With new Federal resources from the Veteran’s Administration, and strong local coordination among nonprofits and government, we have made significant progress – 717 veterans have been housed, and 310 more have a voucher and are looking for housing. We now need a significant investment from the Federal government, and the State, to support all other populations.
Homelessness is in a state of emergency. Our community has rallied to provide shelter and support for others in crisis – from international refugees to local and national disaster victims – and we should also do the same for our neighbors without a permanent place to call home.