A record $28 million in federal homeless assistance funds was awarded jointly to the City of Seattle and King County, including over $3.6 million to create new housing opportunities for over 200 people across the region, in addition to renewing critical funding for new and existing homeless housing and services countywide for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the award Wednesday, following the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announcement of $1.8 billion awarded nationwide.
“Seattle is working to address our current crisis in homelessness and these resources will help fund our response as we move people from emergency shelters into housing,” said Mayor Ed Murray, co-chair of the Committee to End Homelessness Governing Board. “This also grant helps us leverage additional federal funds to invest in best practices to serve homeless individuals and families.”
“The recent One Night Count highlights the need not only to create more safe shelter and affordable housing, but to keep people from falling into homelessness and to rapidly re-house those who find themselves without a home,” said Executive Constantine. “Thanks to this extraordinary federal support, we can act quickly to move more individuals and families from homelessness to housing.”
The funding awards and new bonus funding come just days after nearly one thousand volunteers across King County counted 3,772 unsheltered people across the County. The annual One Night Count conducted on January 23 found a 21 percent increase over the number counted last year.
New for this federal funding round was approximately $40 million nationally specifically to create housing for chronically homeless persons. In a very competitive process, Seattle-King County was successful in applying for a $3.6 million bonus award, the second largest in the country, to transition over 200 chronically homeless individuals to permanent supportive housing by providing long-term rental assistance and services. The project will focus on people who have histories of the longest shelter use and who are also disabled by one or more significant vulnerabilities. This project is a partnership of Plymouth Housing Group, Catholic Housing Services and DESC – all of whom excel in serving chronically homeless people.
“We are ecstatic to receive funding to house more chronically homeless individuals with permanent supportive housing, an evidence-based approach to ending homelessness,” said Mark Putnam, director of the Committee to End Homelessness. “Our nonprofit providers’ experience with this model is second to none in the country.”
The federal grant also provides support for a new Regional Rapid Re-Housing Project that will assist 50 homeless families countywide to transition from homelessness to permanent housing. The program will offer quick, light-touch services to help families achieve stability, including assistance in finding housing, help with move-in expenses and case management. The program will focus on families who are homeless, either in shelter or on the streets.
The balance of funding awarded to the Seattle/King County Continuum of Care supports 77 community-based projects for a total of 2,176 units of housing: 1,457 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless people with disabilities and 721 units of transitional housing. The total includes funding for two Safe Haven facilities that offer supportive housing for homeless adults with severe mental illness. Also renewed is funding for Continuum of Care planning and the Safe Harbors Homeless Management Information System, which collects data on services provided to homeless people in programs throughout King County.
For more information on the programs and projects funded by the McKinney Continuum of Care grant funds, please call Eileen Denham, City of Seattle McKinney Programs Coordinator, 206-684-0915 or Kate Speltz, King County Housing and Community Development Program, 206-263-9084.