King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus on Friday announced the formation of One Table, a comprehensive effort made up of business, service providers, health care, faith community, philanthropy, labor, academia, community members and people who have experienced homelessness.
The group will assess the region’s response to homelessness, including root causes such as escalating home prices, inequality and the need to expand mental health and addiction services. It will also work to scale up community-based and government programs that are successful.
“We all know homelessness is a regional challenge that heeds no boundaries,” Constantine said. “Our approach has been to work with all the region’s cities to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time. By coming together at one table, everyone with resources and energy and ideas – everyone who wants to make a difference on our streets – can set clearer targets, hold each other accountable, and make sure our investments achieve the results we all want.”
“We must have everyone in this fight if we want to find innovative long-term solutions to our homelessness and affordability crisis. By leveraging the City and regional tools and partnerships, we can better coordinate services and ultimately move more people off the streets and into permanent housing,” Durkan said.
“The homelessness crisis that we face does not impact a single city, it impacts us all,” Backus said. “For us to make true progress and address the challenges that contribute to this situation, we can no longer think in silos, but must instead join together to address this regionally. It will take all of us, working side-by-side, to find unique solutions that are meaningful and drive progress for each of us. The formation of One Table is a first, but large, step in leading us down that path to success.”
More than 11,000 people on any day are homeless across King County.
Key goals of One Table
• Creation of short-term and long-term county-wide strategies and goals driven by data
• Regional coordination of investments and services
• Examining innovative solutions around homelessness, based on root causes including mental health and substance use
• Creating more affordable, permanent housing throughout the region
• Addressing disparate impacts of displacement and homelessness disproportionately affecting people of color, the LGBTQ community and marginalized communities
• Identifying barriers and gaps preventing solutions from being implemented
As co-chairs of One Table, Constantine, Durkan and Backus in the coming weeks will select members of the committee from a wide variety of sectors:
• Business, including developers and employers
• Service providers in homelessness, housing and behavioral health fields
• Health care
• Faith community
• Community members who are working on addressing homelessness
• People who have experienced homelessness
• Law and justice
• Federal, state and local government
• Advocates working in communities that are disproportionately affected by homelessness
The City of Auburn has been proactive on the issues of homelessness.
Backus has led local efforts to address the problem, leading the formation of the Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force, composed of community leaders, police and fire, the school district, service providers, residents, members of the faith community, police and fire, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, business owners and key city staff. The task force seeks to better understand the scope and causes of homelessness in Auburn, the systems in place to address homelessness and consider the range of concerns and ideas the community identified.