The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was created to address the crisis of homelessness as a public priority with a sense of urgency. Although the Plan led to significant increases in affordable housing stock, the number of people experiencing homelessness grew well beyond even the most dire projections. Simply put, the response has not kept up with the demand.
The city’s Proclamation of Civil Emergency and the county’s Local Proclamation of Emergency give us new tools and resources and ignite that sense of urgency that has been missing. Combined with the All Home (formerly the Committee to End Homelessness) newly adopted strategic plan, we’ve got what we need to fix the problems with our response system.
Homelessness can be thought of as one or more disasters that led to a loss of housing. Like a hurricane, sometimes there’s time to prepare, and sometimes disasters like job loss or a health crisis hit hard, without warning. Every day in King County at least 4,505 individuals – a startling 19% increase from last year – and more than 400 unsheltered families are living in disaster-like conditions while navigating a system that doesn’t fully meet the scope of the problem. In 2015 alone, 91 people died living on the streets.
As people of faith, we should continue to find ways to add resources to the overburdened homeless response system. More importantly, we should join forces to hold Mayor Murray and County Executive Constantine accountable for their bold declarations.
For the details of the City and County declarations: