Despite concerns, homelessness authority moves toward final Seattle vote

Seattle’s homelessness committee aligned the city’s plan with King County’s.

A regional homelessness authority took another step forward Thursday morning ahead of a vote by the full city council scheduled for Dec. 16.

Seattle’s Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability recommended the city council pass an ordinance to create an intergovernmental agency consolidating the homelessness crisis response. The agency would be initially funded by the city and King County, and have representatives from suburban cities and people who have experienced homelessness.

The vote was approved with one committee member, Lorena González, abstaining. During the meeting, she raised concerns about how voting would be structured. The committee approved an amendment that brought the city’s ordinance in line with the county’s. Had differences between the ordinances remained, the legislation would have returned to the King County Council in January for more work.

González raised concerns that of the 12-member board, only nine members were needed to hold a vote. And of those nine, only six needed to approve measures ranging from the budget to policy decisions for the authority.

A previous version of the Seattle ordinance, which was overturned at Thursday’s meeting, would have required a minimum of eight votes to approve plans and budgets. It also asked for evidence-based practices to guild funding authority.

González was also uncomfortable with the Seattle ordinance binding the city to follow its principals, while King County’s ordinance did not. She abstained from voting in hopes the county would provide written confirmation that it was committed to the visions and principals outlined in the ordinance.

“Until I receive that assurance, I am not comfortable with the proposal as is,” González said.

Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien said the housing authority would still require buy-in from its members, and that the city could restrict or deny funding if the homelessness authority doesn’t follow the outlined goals.

Without a commitment from King County to follow the guiding principals, González worried the city council would withhold its $73 million in annual funding. She described this as the “nuclear option.” King County will provide $55 million annually.

Council member Bruce Harrell said Seattle likely has more experience than other cities and the county in addressing homelessness. He hoped to lead through experience.

“I think we have the beginning of something great here,” Harrell said.

Seattle’s ordinance is scheduled for a vote at 2 p.m. Dec. 16.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Pexel Images
Two patients contracted COVID-19 while at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland

A press release from the hospital states it has contacted 100 employees that had various levels of exposure, and that the direct source in this case is unclear

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

Seven decades later, the search for two missing Navy pilots continues

The pilots are thought to have disappeared near Black Lake, northeast of North Bend.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

The truck of the Renton family as it was found Tuesday. While fleeing the Cold Springs Fire two adults were severely burned and one toddler died. Courtesy photo/Okanogan Sheriff’s Office
Toddler killed as Renton family flees Cold Springs Fire

The parents were severely burned and are being treated at Harborview Medical Center

Photo by <a href="https://www.pexels.com/@vovaflame?utm_content=attributionCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pexels">Vova Krasilnikov</a> from <a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-fast-cars-2770516/?utm_content=attributionCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pexels">Pexels</a>
Issaquah watching for illegal street racing after citywide reports

Police are placing special emphasis on street racing enforcement

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at esd.wa.gov.
Workers may qualify for an extra $1,500 in unemployment back pay

A federal program will give some of the state’s unemployed a $300 weekly bump for the past five weeks.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.

Pictured left to right: Former Congressman Dave Reichert, Slade Gorton, and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn visit Washington, D.C., to testify in favor of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area designation. Courtesy photo
Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton dies at 92

Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton died Aug. 19 in Seattle at age… Continue reading

Screenshot from a press conference by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Republican state lawmakers want special session

Gov. Jay Inslee and other Democrats are waiting to see what Congress does.