Jeanne Kohl-Welles

News

Crosscut: Years into a homelessness ‘emergency,’ Seattle and King County propose a unified response

By David Kroman

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine on Wednesday took the most substantive step yet toward coordinating the region’s response to homelessness between the city and the county.

Backed by several mayors and council members from cities across the county, the two unveiled a proposed new governing body, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), through which most homelessness resources and oversight would be routed. 

The proposed governing body must win approval from the Seattle and King County councils and must also win budget allocations from both. But, if successful, the move would represent a significant shift in how Washington’s most populous city and county address what has became its dominating issue.

The new body, said Constantine, would “answer the challenge of our time: How to tackle a crisis that impacts all of our 39 cities and the unincorporated county with services that are hopelessly fragmented, not coordinated, often duplicative and confusing to our customers. Here this morning, I say, the status quo is no more.”

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Seattle P.I.: King County Council votes to invest millions toward affordable housing

By Becca Savransky

King County Council earlier this week took a step to unlock millions of dollars for affordable housing.

The council passed a resolution that will allow it to invest about $100 million from the state’s sales and use tax into affordable housing over the next 20 years. Under the legislation, the funds can be used for building and maintaining affordable housing units for people who make at or below 60% of the area median income.

The resolution comes after Washington state legislators earlier this year passed legislation authorizing cities and counties to keep a portion of the state’s sales tax for affordable housing projects. The revenue from the sales tax would have traditionally gone to the state general fund.

In a statement, Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles emphasized the importance of using every available option to address the homelessness crisis.

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Westside Seattle: Snow emergencies will now mean free Metro Transit

Today the Council unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles that would waive enforcement of Metro transit fares when Metro activates its Emergency Snow Network to encourage people to use transit and avoid driving during severe snowstorms.

 Metro customers will be able to ride without paying the transit fare while the Emergency Snow Network is in effect. The legislation increases accessibility of Metro transit service for those experiencing homelessness in need of shelter and encourages all residents to avoid driving during severe snowstorms. 

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Seattle Times: It’s hard to get drug treatment while homeless. King County wants to change that.

Amid an opioid overdose crisis that’s seen hundreds of deaths in recent years, King County is planning to bring medication-assisted treatment for opioids to homeless encampments and shelters this fall.

The county last month put out a $1 million request for proposals, with bidders to be picked in September. Another $500,000 is going to a new street medicine team on wheels to meet with people living in tents and shelters starting this month.

The two-pronged approach is to ensure that people who want addiction treatment can get it, and to bring more medical care into encampments and shelters. The strategy will focus on outreach and improving people’s health — not on abstinence, and not connected to efforts to remove encampments from public sight.

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See you at the doors!

Jeanne and her team will be out knocking on doors from now through November, please join us! If you’re interested in volunteering with the campaign, please send an email to [email protected] We’d love to see you on the campaign trail!

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