Members present: Helen Howell, Paula Carvalho, Simha Reddy, Gordon McHenry, Adrienne Quinn, John Chelminiak, Nate Caminos, Dr. Damien Pattenaude, Juanita Spotted Elk, Harold Odom, and Professor Sarah Rankin
Members absent: Rev. Dr. Carey Anderson
Other presenters: Leo Flor
Meeting highlights: I watched a recording on September 7, but I believe the time was late afternoon, 1 1/2 hours long.
The purpose of the meeting today was to introduce the Board members to each other and to get background on the Board’s mandate. In summary their mandate is to oversee policy, funding, and services for people experiencing homelessness county wide. Their focus is to better coordinate services and funding across the entire county and reduce the disproportionate number of people experiencing homelessness based on racial/ethnic disparities. Ultimately, their goal is to eliminate homelessness.
Background: As background, previous and current efforts to solve the homelessness issue in King County have been 1. fragmented and 2. inequitable. To rectify this situation and in doing so better solve the homelessness issue, during the past year a unified regional governance approach has been initiated with the goal of being pro-equity and person-centered. This new approach has resulted in the establishment of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), formed by an Interlocal Agreement in December 2019.
The KCRHA will focus on unifying and coordinating the homeless response system for all of King County. This will include outreach, diversion, shelter, much of the region’s prevention efforts, and services for rapid re-housing, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing.
First a Governing Committee was established and included: Jonathan Hemphill, Kirk McClain, and Zane Reid all representing leaders with lived experience; Executive Dow Constantine King County; Councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Joe McDermott, both representing the King County Council; Mayor Jenny Durkan, City of Seattle; Councilmembers Lorena Gonzalez and Andrew Lewis, both representing the Seattle City Council; and Mayor Nancy Backus, City of Auburn, Mayor Angela Birney, City of Redmond, and Council member Ed Prince, City of Renton, all representing Sound Cities Association.
This Governing Committee then established a KCRHA Implementation Board. This Implementation Board met for the first time at this meeting. The Board consists of 13 members representing people with lived experience of homelessness as well as experts from fiscal oversight, physical and behavioral health, affordable housing, equity, business, homelessness services, labor unions/workforce, youth services, and child welfare services.
Implementation Board member biographies: The meeting was moderated by Jeannie Macnab, the acting project manager for KCRHA. After a brief overview she invited each member to introduce themselves in no particular order. I am, however, grouping the Board members so that the reader can understand the area they represent:
Seattle Mayor Appointees:
Helen Howell - over 30 years of public, policy and advocacy and leadership experience, including roles at the federal, state and local levels.
Rev. Dr. Carey Anderson - (not present) Senior Minister of FAME, Seattle
Seattle City Council Appointees:
Paula Carvalho - Raikes Foundation program officer on the youth homelessness strategy, Director of Youth Programs at the Mockingbird Society. Lived experience in foster care and homelessness.
Simha Reddy - Primary care physician working in the field of homeless health since 2012.
King County Executive Appointees:
Gordon McHenry - President and CEO of the United Way, King County.
Adrienne Quinn - Teaches at the Univ of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Was Director of King County Department of Community and Human Services. Has family members dealing with homelessness.
King Count Council Appointees:
John Chelminiak - recently retired Bellevue Mayor and City Council member, involved in the initial legislation setting up the KCRHA.
Michael Ramos - (still to be approved, listening in at the meeting) Exec Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle.
Sound Cities Association Appointees:
Nate Caminos - Director of Government Affairs for the Port of Seattle. Strong connection to the business community. Experienced food insecurity and poverty as a child and has a close family member who experiences homelessness. Also is a foster parent.
Dr. Damien Pattenaude - Superintendent of the Renton School District.
Lived Experience Leaders Appointees:
Juanita Spotted Elk - member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Mother of five children who has survived domestic violence and homelessness. Serves on the Executive Committee of the Lived Experience Coalition.
Harold Odom - experienced homelessness for over a decade. He currently lives in the Tiny Home Villages in Georgetown and is a huge advocate for those experiencing homelessness.
Professor Sara Rankin - Founder and director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP) at Seattle Univ. HRAP engages students, staff, faculty and allies in research and advocacy to advance the civil, constitutional and human rights of people experiencing homelessness.
Public comment: After all introductions were completed there was available ten minutes for public comment. No public comments were made in the first few minutes so they moved on to the next part of the agenda.
Main presentation: Leo Flor, Director of King County Department of Community and Human Services gave a powerpoint presentation providing a bit of background on why the KCRHA was formed, what the role of the Authority Board is and some immediate next steps.
He led with the main goal - Unified Governance with Equity, Efficiency, and Accountability.
Management now is fragmented. There is inequality in services and funding across the County.
The Authority Board has no elected officials and no current service providers.
One of the Board members asked about getting more background info from filed reports, consultant work, etc., and Flor said he would provide links to different reports to the Board after the meeting.
The Authority Board is expected to meet a minimum of 6 times per year but were expected to meet more frequently in the next few months to organize for 2021. A note would go out after the meeting to determine a definitive Board meeting schedule that worked best for all.
The next meeting would focus on how they would work with the Governing Committee and other groups. Also, there will be discussion on how the funding responsibility would be transferred to the Board, establishing operating logistics, etc. The control of contracts would have to be transitioned over with the goal of new RFPs being issued by the Authority Board starting the second half of 2021. The Board Authority will also have to focus now on recruiting a CEO in the next few months.
After Flor’s presentation and some brief discussion of next steps, the meeting was adjourned. No public comment opportunity was provided at the end of the meeting.
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