Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, issued this statement today following the release of the annual Point in Time count in Washington state showing that 11,643 people are experiencing homelessness in the Seattle and King County region alone.
“The increase in homeless and unsheltered Washingtonians in King County revealed in today’s report highlights the urgent need for the state to partner with King County and all counties around the state to address the homeless and housing crisis.
“The capital budgets passed separately by the Senate and House allocate between $96 million and $106 million on housing-related construction, including funds dedicated in the specific areas of mental health, veterans and innovations like tiny homes and modular housing. Additionally, both budgets make significant direct investments in more crisis walk-in clinics and other mental health-related facilities which all parties, Republican and Democratic, acknowledge are needed. These budgets were passed 49-0 and 96-2 in their respective chambers, indicating overwhelming bipartisan support.
“Unfortunately, more than six weeks since adjournment and now on our second special session, we have not had a single negotiating session to try to reconcile these very necessary expenditures in housing and mental health in all corners of our state. Yet we know that there is broad bipartisan support for these budgets and it is just a matter of reconciling the details. I believe the public wants their leaders to step up and work together to address their problems. Now.
“Homelessness is a complex problem that crosses the intersections of inequality, addiction, mental health, and failures in foster care and other systems. No single budget or action will solve the whole crisis in King County or around the state, but the burning question is what are we waiting for to try to make progress?”