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Dunn Proposes Mapping, Removal of Unsanctioned Homeless Encampments in King County

Dunn Proposes Mapping, Removal of Unsanctioned Homeless Encampments in King County

Today King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation [attached] to create a public-facing dashboard showing all unsanctioned homeless encampments across King County and requesting a comprehensive plan to provide outreach and clear camps in unincorporated King County.

“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.”

In the last biennium, 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.

Dunn’s legislation requests that a King County team including the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, and the Department of Community and Human Services work with local jurisdictions such as the City of Seattle to create a dashboard, similar to Seattle’s new dashboard that tracks and responds to homelessness within the City of Seattle, that maps the location of known homeless encampments as well as the approximate number of people residing at each camp. The plan to remove homeless encampments would include a strategy to connect the residents of the encampments with available shelter and services; a timeline for removal; a method to prevent the encampments from reoccurring; and recommendations of policies that King County could implement for encampment removal in the future.

Both the map and the removal plan would be due to the King County Council by October 1, 2022.