City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) announced this week a total of $620,000 in funding for rapid rehousing services for non-chronically homeless single adults to ensure that these instances of homelessness are rare, brief and occur only one time.
“The evidence is clear: homeless diversion programs work,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We look forward to working with service providers to scale this and other best-practices in reducing and preventing homelessness. This funding will leverage the investments we have already made to reduce disparities and create better outcomes.”
Funding will be awarded to the YWCA of Seattle, King County and Snohomish County ($310,000) and Catholic Community Services ($310,000).
“The City continues its effort to institute performance-based investments and uses data to steer the department’s resources to nonprofits who demonstrate their ability to serve the community’s most in need,” said Catherine Lester, Director, Seattle Human Services Department.
This funding is intended to assist single, homeless adults without accompanied children, with a focus on individuals who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The funds will provide for a variety of assistance, such as: short-term or medium-term rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services that include activities like mediation, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance and employment navigation. Clients will also receive referrals for credit counseling from the Financial Empowerment Center and to the City Utility Discount Program.
Also announced this week, an increase and year round expansion of shelter beds available exclusively for homeless youth. This expansion is made available by an additional $152,000 investment with Peace for the Street by Kids from the Streets (PSKS) to extend its temporary cold weather shelter to a year round, five day a week operation. In addition, the bed capacity in this shelter will increase from 15 to 20 by June 2015.
“In a region like ours where there is such tremendous wealth, it’s heartbreaking that any of our youth experience homelessness,” Murray said. “That’s why it is vital that we provide a warm bed, a pillow, and some relief from the dangers of the street. While permanent, safe housing is the ultimate goal, securing these additional resources will mean a few more young people every night won’t have to sleep on the streets.”
“We are thrilled by the news that the City of Seattle will extend funding for PSKS and Mt. Zion Baptist Church to continue our collaboration to shelter homeless youth and young adults beyond the winter months,” said Susan Fox, Executive Director, PSKS. “This shelter is often the last resort for many of the youth we serve as many have pet companions, identify as LGBTQ, and are dealing with difficult life circumstances. I commend the mayor for recognizing this critical need and addressing this service gap.”
The added shelter beds are consistent with the Mayor’s Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness recommendation to add new shelter beds to meet the needs of unsheltered homeless young people living in Seattle.
PSKS has been operating a 15 bed youth shelter, five nights per week at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle’s Central District. This shelter was originally funded by the Mayor for the first quarter of 2015 as a temporary cold weather shelter and as overflow for other youth serving shelters in the city.
Last year, Murray joined First Lady Michelle Obama and 432 U.S. Mayors in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness to ensure there are no veterans sleeping on our streets and every veteran has access to permanent housing. This funding announcement brings the City one step closer to fulfilling this goal.