The Intersection between Race and Homelessness

Homelessness is inextricably linked to racism. In fact, homelessness can be seen as a symptom of structural racism. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty argues that “homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in the United States of America have a disparate racial impact, in violation of the United States’ obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” In King County, nearly two thirds of people experiencing homelessness are people and families of color. African Americans are five times more likely to experience homelessness than their white counterparts in King County and Native American and Alaska Native individuals are seven times more likely to experience homelessness.

Our strategic plan to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time in King County also seeks to eliminate racial disparities. We know that addressing homelessness includes having difficult conversations about race. Truly ending homelessness will require bold action, from all of us, to create meaningful change in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community. All Home is committed to racial justice and in an effort to create a culture in which we can talk frankly about race, each week we will highlight articles, data, and stories that further the conversation on the intersection between race and homelessness. We invite you, our partners, to join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook or by emailing us directly.

Best Starts for Kids RFP- Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative

The King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is seeking qualified agencies to submit proposals to implement prevention services for youth and families at risk of homelessness. Best Starts for Kids is an initiative to improve the health and well-being of King County by investing in prevention and early intervention for children, youth, families, and communities, and recognizes the disproportionate representation of people of color who enter homelessness. Details regarding this funding opportunity are available here. The application will close on September 20, 2016.

Application Technical Assistance Support

King County has awarded the Non-Profit Assistance Center with a contract to provide Technical Assistance to agencies as they complete the Application. Technical support will include:

  • Support to small agencies in evaluating whether they should apply for funding
  • Individualized and regional support to agencies to draft RFP responses

2016 Application Bidder’s Workshops

Date Time Location
Monday, August 15th, 2016 9am-Noon CCS, 100 23rd Ave S, Seattle, WA  98144
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 1pm-3:30pm Multi-Service Center, 1200 S. 336th St, Federal Way, WA  98003
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 11:30am-2pm YWCA, 1010 S. 2nd Street, Renton, WA 98057
Thursday, August 18th, 2016 1pm-3:30pm First Congregational Church in Bellevue, 11061 NE 2nd St, Bellevue, WA  98004
Friday, August 19th, 2016 10am-12:30pm North Seattle Opportunity Center, 9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103

King County Participates in Voices of Youth Count


King County is one of 22 national regions selected to participate in Voices of Youth Count, an innovative research effort linking evidence and action to end youth homelessness. The project includes a point-in-time count on June 30. Partners are encouraged to invited unstably housed and homeless youth ages 13-25 to participate in a short survey and youth will receive a $5 gift card for their time. Drop-in “Come and Be Counted” locations for the survey are here, and youth will also be counted by street outreach teams, at shelters, and at transitional housing programs. The Voices of Youth Count is a two-year project that includes local policy and fiscal scans, youth focus groups, data review, the point-in-time count and more. Initial findings of the project will be available in late 2016.

King County Releases RFP for East King County Regional Access Point

The King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is seeking qualified agencies to submit proposals  to implement a regional access point (RAP) in East King County. The Regional Access Point will serve a critical role in our community’s system of Coordinated Entry for All by offering access to CEA assessments and connections to related services.

Details regarding this funding opportunity, including information on an application workshop, are available here.

Federal Continuum of Care Grants Announced

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced over $1.9 billion in total grants nationwide for homelessness in what HUD called “the most competitive ever” year. In all, over $35 million in federal homeless assistance funds was awarded jointly to the City of Seattle and King County, including over $4.3 million in new funding to create housing for more than 350 households across the region. In addition, this announcement will allow our community to renew critical funding for new and existing homeless housing and services countywide for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“We know how to end homelessness and these grants support local programs that are proven to prevent and end homelessness as we’ve come to know it,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro in announcing the funding grants.

New projects funded by HUD will create 243 units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless single adults in four projects, three located in Seattle and one with scattered sites countywide. New funding will also provide 49 units of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless families. The federal grant also supports rapid re-housing to help 95 homeless households quickly transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Seventy of those units will target youth and young adults who are either in shelter or on the streets.

“This funding is essential for people experiencing homelessness,” said Mark Putnam, director of All Home. “Over the last three grant awards, we have shifted the focus towards the goals of our plan, to permanent housing solutions. We have also been successful in competing for bonus funds. Yet we still need more from Congress this session to help with housing, mental health and the opiate crisis.”

Seattle and King County jointly apply for the federal Continuum of Care grants each year. In a very competitive process, the region received its largest award ever from HUD.

The full list of organizations receiving funds can be viewed here.

Affordable Housing Week


The Housing Development Consortium (HDC) is kicking off King County’s first-ever Affordable Housing Week, alongside partners from across the County, to highlight the current need and potential policy solutions for preserving and creating affordable housing in cities all throughout King County. Affordable Housing Week is a new annual tradition to show why affordable housing is so important in all of our communities, and to demonstrate support for the movement to ensure that all people have the chance to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes within communities of opportunity.

Today, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaimed May 16-22 “Affordable Housing Week.” In addition, 20 cities across King County have also signed on to Affordable Housing Week!

As part of Affordable Housing Week, HDC is holding an Elected Official Reception on Thursday, May 19 4:30 – 6:30 pm at El Centro de la Raza (2524 16th Avenue South Seattle, WA 98144). This event is open to HDC members, housing advocates, supporters, elected officials, community members and friends, and will be a great opportunity to show elected officials our strength in number and passion for safe, equitable, and affordable homes. Please register to attend this event here.

More information on Affordable Housing Week can be found here.

Homeless Rights Advocacy Project Identifies Laws that Target the Visibly Poor

Seattle University School of Law’s Homeless Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP) has released six new reports that continue the group’s influential, groundbreaking research into laws that target the visibly poor. The new reports examine the impacts of increasingly popular laws and policies that criminalize homelessness, such as prohibitions on living in vehicles, sweeps of tent encampments, pet ownership standards, and barriers to access at emergency shelters.

“Our research in 2015 started an important conversation, both locally and nationally, about treating people with compassion and fairness under the law,” said Professor Sara Rankin, HRAP’s faculty director. “These new reports take that conversation to the next level.”

HRAP students conducted extensive legal research and analysis to complete the briefs, conducting interviews with a wide range of experts (including people experiencing homelessness); surveying municipal, state, and federal laws; and reviewing legal standards set by previous court decisions.

“We found that common homelessness myths are refuted by statistics, experience, case law, and common sense,” said Justin Olson, a third-year law student. “These are the issues that people experiencing homelessness struggle with every day.”

The new reports identify specific common problems and offer effective, legally sound alternatives.

The full reports are available here.