Announcing the Housing Command Center: Moving people into housing, making progress on homelessness
By: Felicia Salcedo, Executive Director of We Are In
Homelessness is fundamentally a housing problem, which is why our homelessness response efforts should center around getting people housed. Every person deserves a safe, dignified place to live.
In October 2022, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), in coordination with We Are In and other key partners, announced the Housing Command Center (HCC). The HCC is an emergency operations management system focused on housing people, starting with individuals living unsheltered in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown-International District as part of the Partnership for Zero initiative. With support from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the HCC is jointly led by KCRHA, the Lived Experience Coalition, the City of Seattle, King County, and We Are In.
What is the HCC?
Modeled on the federal government’s response to natural disasters, the Housing Command Center is significantly speeding up the process of getting people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. With technical assistance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the KCRHA built the foundation for the HCC, which takes best practices learned from years of emergency response to disasters like floods, fires and other major displacements, and applies them to homelessness. As part of Partnership for Zero implementation, the HCC is currently focused on housing individuals living unsheltered in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown-International District.
What does the HCC do?
The HCC is permanently housing people, starting with individuals living unsheltered in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown-International District. To accomplish that goal, the HCC is focused on three actions: identifying available housing units, identifying eligible households, and matching households to units with support from System Advocates (outreach workers with their own lived experience of homelessness).
Who is leading the HCC?
The HCC was established by the KCRHA with technical assistance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is led day-to-day by a joint leadership team which comprises representatives of We Are In, the Lived Experience Coalition, the City of Seattle, King County, and the KCRHA. Additionally, the HCC includes System Advocates, a Housing Acquisition Team, a Data Management Team, and more.
Why do we need the HCC?
The pandemic’s economic and health impacts exacerbated homelessness, and we need to kick our housing efforts into high gear. We know housing ends homelessness, ensuring that people pushed into homelessness can access supports and rebuild their lives, and the HCC’s approach is proven to deliver on our shared goal of moving people inside.