SEATTLE - King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced new legislation on Thursday to create a public dashboard intended to speed up the process of removing homeless encampments in the county, while offering help to those being displaced.
According to a press release from King County Council, the dashboard will map out locations of all known homeless encampments across the county as well the approximate number of people living in them. According to Dunn, the plan will include a timeline for encampment removal, a method to prevent camps from returning, recommendations of policies that King County could implement in the future and strategies to connect residents of the camps with available shelters and services.
"Allowing homeless encampments in our communities is not only detrimental to those who live, work, or recreate nearby–it's also not what is best for those who are left living on the streets instead of being connected with services that can help get their lives back on track," said Dunn. "Especially at a time when King County is ramping up investments in those services, it’s reasonable to expect them to be utilized and only fair to those communities that are impacted by public camping."
Dunn’s legislation requests that a team comprised of the King County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Natural Resources and Parks and the Department of Community and Human Services will work with the City of Seattle to create this dashboard.
In the last two years, King County invested nearly $262 million in homelessness services, including permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, homeless outreach, behavioral health services, and shelter space. This includes $68.7 million for the Health Through Housing initiative, which aims to house 1,600 people in hotels by the end of 2022, paying for the hotels through a 0.1% county sales tax with a $400 million bonding package.
Both the map and the removal plan would be due to the King County Council by October 1, 2022.