Report: King County spent $70 million to house 803 people in 2022

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By SPENCER PAULEY | THE CENTER SQUARE

An annual report reveals that King County, Washington’s program to house people through 15 sites used more than $70 million to house 803 people, due to incomplete construction and other issues.

The Health Through Housing initiative’s primary goal is to open 1,600 units of affordable housing for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming unhoused in King County. The county previously anticipated it would meet the 1,600 unit goal by the end of 2022, but fell short with 1,366 units of housing being ready to use, or under construction at the end of the year.

The initiative’s 2022 revenue totaled $68.8 million, including $67.9 million from sales tax revenue and $800,000 from interest. The Health Through Housing Initiative receives one-tenth of a cent of sales tax revenue for the purchase and operation of hotels to convert into emergency and permanent supportive housing.

Actual expenditures for the initiative in 2022 totaled approximately $70.2 million. According to the Health Through Housing 2022 Report, the slightly higher expenditures than revenues in 2022 are consistent with the approach in the initiative’s implementation plan.

In its first year of full operations, the initiative brought 803 homeless people into temporary or permanent housing in Health Through Housing units. 

Out of the 803 people, 348 received permanently housing or moved on to permanent housing elsewhere with the aid of Health Through Housing resources.

The 803 people that received shelter make up 6% of the 13,369 homeless people tallied in the county’s 2022 point-in-time count.

The Health Through Housing’s 15 sites are located throughout King County, including in seven of the nine King County Council districts.

The initiative’s 2022 report found that the average per-unit acquisition cost of Health Through Housing properties is $229,314. The report notes that the cost per unit for each site varies based on the circumstances of each acquisition, as well as site development process and timing. 

The site located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill District was omitted from the calculation as the full acquisition costs for this property were not incurred until 2023.

Conclusions from the report found that the initiative is proceeding slower than planned by the county. 

“Converting hotels into supportive housing is a complex and time-consuming undertaking,” the Health Through Housing 2022 Report states. 

Challenges listed in the report include negotiations to purchase sites and establish operational ​​agreements, high site-specific facility needs and community engagement efforts, and COVID-era challenges.

Health Through Housing acquisitions are expected to be completed in 2024. Once that is done, the initiative will focus exclusively on opening buildings and supporting contracted providers to continuously improve onsite supportive services.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Oh God…”tents in the woods”, these people should come to anchorage, we’ve been buying hotels for them to stay in. We treat our bums much better here. Have these derelicts even been given their free cell phone and pack of syringes yet? Come on Seattle get it together.

    • During Covid we were ready to put positive testing patients up in hotels.

      But since the vast majority of homeless never got tested, the lucky ones just ended up in Centennial Hall.

  2. Anchorage Assembly members have been following King Counties Homeless Expansion Project right down to the raping of the taxpayers to pay for it.
    It is a very successful tool for homeless expansion and a large enough portion of the 70 million is welcomed by the nonprofit kingpins who lavish in the huge six figure salaries funneling the lions share to their cohorts Hotels with generous kickbacks.
    Meg Zaletel would make them all proud of her success as a paid dictator on the assembly directing the funds as well as being a higher paid recipient on the receiving end of the millions being channeled.

  3. Interesting to think about: Hotels, originally constructed for people coming into a city who would PAY for the facilities, now are converted to facilities to house people and the CITY pays for the service and cashes out the original hotel owner. As a taxpayer, I now pay thrice: The operating costs; supply the money to buy the hotel, and-wait-for-it, higher taxes through loss of the tax base. This seems really expensive. Are the judges of the Alaska Court System saying this is required by the State Constitution? Don’t worry — they will, sooner or later.

    • Mark Begich, our former US senator bought a downtown hotel during COVID and rented the rooms out to the homeless on a no bid contract from Muni under the previous admins and once that loan was paid off, withdrew the hotel from being used as a homeless shelter and is now remodeling it for a luxury upscale hotel. This is why Democrats run for office. Republicans don’t want to take a pay cut to be in public life, Democrats use the public trough to enrich themselves at our expense. Great Gig.

    • “Affordable housing” means every taxpayer foots the bill except the person actually living at the affordable-housing premesis.

      Want to do this on the cheap? King County should buy some land in Central WA and put up 4-season yurts. A 12-foot diameter yurt with the year-round trimmings from Pacific Yurts (out of Oregon) is only @ 10 grand.
      I hear land adjacent to the Hanford site is a real bargain these days.

      • Yeah, a concentration camp makes perfect sense in this case.
        There wouldnt be much success in panhandling or open and accepted theft from the “haves” by the “have nots”.
        If we could only figure out a way to channel Joe Biden and his Cartel buddies fentanyl business to these camps to keep them “medicated” it would ease the burden on the people paying these outrageous 4 star hotel rates.
        It would be a win win for all except for the politicians getting all the kickbacks from the Hotel owners which is the deal breaker for this solution.
        They have to keep the people paying for it stumbling over them on the streets so they feel better about paying for the hotels.

  4. Sounds like the same issues here…misappropriation/expenditure of funds, using the good ole boy network.

  5. Can we get a similar report on the amount wasted by the Anchorage assembly for their duplication of what King County is doing. (But, I am assured by a former assembly member that “this time it will be different…”)

  6. For ONE Year! $87,173.10/year/person OR $1,671.81/week/person for 803 people. Minus the required administrative overhead costs (10%, 20%, 30% or ??) by the homeless coalition of your choice.

  7. Homelessness has become just like climate change. It’s a huge emergency which must be acted upon immediately regardless of cost. Lots of money being made and siphoned off to the privileged few. Meanwhile, many don’t want to be housed because there’s rules associated with the housing.

  8. The tech people of rainy land can afford this, we can’t.
    Almost every kid that leaves here & gets an advanced degree and a “job(s) of the future” doesn’t come back.
    We are left w/ the kids that don’t do that
    We are Seattle’s poor, frozen cousins.

  9. So much for communist housing. It fails economically like communist transportation, but wait for communist food. Everybody starves to death. Problem solved.

  10. That’s more than $238 per person per night. Motel 6 charges about $75 =/- per night. Does this make any sense at all?

  11. Nobody is traveling into king county for leisure and business that the county don’t need hotel accommodations? I know I don’t want to visit any other Democrat state or Democrat controlled town. Why waste money in a state whose leadership are making bad policies. I been thinking about if I should take a return trip to Democrat Juneau to seek out some people I know not doing well but also for that reason I don’t want to give any more money into Juneau’s economy that they aren’t already receiving through tax monies from government. That’s something daily on my mind since Anchorage has homeless and governance issues if people outside will stop traveling to Anchorage to stay in our hotels. Cause if I lived outside Alaska even I wouldn’t choose Alaska for visit because of our local leadership.

  12. I recently had to rent a room at a hotel in Spenard. A customer was complaining about bed bugs in her room and said that the building her room was in is being used for homeless housing. So I had to pay to stay there ($275 a night) but my tax dollars are paying for the non working alcohol and drug addicted to live for free. We probably supply monthly checks to the humans who are abusing us. I’m wondering why we don’t provide free one-way flights to fire island. You want to be homeless? Do it on that island.
    What exactly is your fair share of what ‘someone else’ has worked for? -Thomas Sowell

    • Only all that money is going to the employer who is managing the non profit or health care service, or government program. That’s why nice homes of 500,000 plus homes can exist here in anchorage because of the taxpayers paying those on a government paycheck what is needed to make their mortgage. Anchorage needs to hold them accountable for their workplace and service like Hotel chain inspectors hold GM’s and their staffs accountable with surprised inspections and award incentives for good work ethics. Like my hotel we just had an inspection and because of our good work we passed with minimal errors and close to receiving a coveted status for the brand. I thought State or Alaska should hold its departments accountable giving rewards or cuts in investment for bad output starting with education, if the school is failing it receive lesser money until it fixes and improves what was wrong the last year like the purposes of being a chain hotel inspector and a secret shopper.

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