The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), Washington State Lived Experience Coalition-Seattle/King County Chapter (LEC), and We Are In are announcing achievements to date in Partnership for Zero’s demonstration project, a public-private collaboration to reduce unsheltered homelessness in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown-International District. Successful milestones include the development of critical infrastructure elements that will move individuals, couples, and families into permanent housing.
The partnership is also excited to announce new and renewed investments from Ballmer Group, Microsoft, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Starbucks, bringing Partnership for Zero’s total investment to $11 million, including contributions, pledges, and in-kind donations.
Progress from the collaboration includes:
➔ The Housing Command Center (HCC) — the backbone of Partnership for Zero — opened its doors in September 2022 with operational guidance and support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Using best practices learned from years of emergency response to disasters like floods, fires and other major displacements, the HCC is streamlining and coordinating the process of getting people housed. HCC teams are focused on real-time visibility into rental housing inventory and rapidly moving people who have been living unsheltered into appropriate housing with services. Part of what makes this different from previous efforts is the targeted deployment of resources, the emergency management framework, and the inclusion of people with lived expertise of homelessness at every step of the process.
➔ 26 Systems Advocates (also known as “peer navigators”) have logged more than 13,000 hours in the field. Systems Advocates, who began outreach and engagement in September 2022, started by walking the entire downtown core to learn about the people living outside and collect data for the “By-Name List.” Systems Advocates also have lived experience of homelessness, enabling them to build the trust needed to support people as they navigate social services and pathways to housing. Systems Advocates partner with the City of Seattle HOPE Team and contracted outreach providers PDA and REACH to help people obtain necessary identification documents, complete a “Housing Needs Form” to determine what type of housing is desired and appropriate, and fill out application forms for housing units. When people are successfully moved into permanent housing, Systems Advocates continue to support them for the following 12 months to ensure ongoing stability. Systems Advocates are also living proof that any person experiencing homelessness can—with the right support—rebuild their lives.
➔ As of January 2023, the Systems Advocates have added 931 people to the “By-Name List” (BNL), providing a full picture of the size and scope of the need. The BNL is a data tool on a shared tech platform that ensures the team has the real-time, quality, reliable data essential to problem-solving. A BNL details granular information about what each person experiencing homelessness needs in order to move to stability—and our community has never before had data with this level of detail. Notably, one-quarter of the individuals included on the BNL have never accessed services before, which shows that intentional, human-centered outreach is making a difference. The By-Name List and the quality of the data captured represents significant progress and is essential to Partnership for Zero’s success moving forward.
With this infrastructure firmly in place, KCRHA is moving unsheltered residents in Downtown Seattle and the Chinatown-International District into housing:
➔ 152 individuals, couples and families have been moved inside, including permanent housing and interim options awaiting housing.
➔ 214 people living unsheltered are moving through the housing process at three prioritized sites (specific encampments or geographic areas).
➔ 56 people have signed 12-month leases in permanent housing (both private market and permanent supportive housing).
➔ 201 people who previously did not have vital identification documents now have photo identification that is required for rental applications, health care, recovery or employment services, and reintegration into community.
➔ 302 people have filled out the Housing Needs Form, a questionnaire to help the team understand an unhoused person’s needs so that they can be matched with services and the type of housing that works best for them.
Partnership for Zero has the continued support of King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor of Seattle Bruce Harrell, the Washington State Lived Experience Coalition (LEC) which includes multiracial and multicultural advocates for unhoused neighbors, and a collaboration of businesses and philanthropic organizations through We Are In, including major employers organized by former Governor Christine Gregoire and Challenge Seattle.
As a recognition of this momentum and progress, business and philanthropic partners are reaffirming their commitment to Partnership for Zero, enabling the initiative to build on its successes and scale its reach:
➔ Ballmer Group will continue as lead funder of Partnership for Zero, recognizing that the initiative has already built much of the critical infrastructure needed to achieve our collective goal of dramatically reducing homelessness, first in Downtown and the CID, and ultimately, across the region.
➔ Microsoft, a founding organization of We Are In and one of the largest contributors to Partnership for Zero, has renewed and expanded their commitment through the technical development of a King County-wide By-Name List. Microsoft has provided expert advice on building technical infrastructure and made connections to quality implementation partners to move data work forward.
➔ Amazon is continuing its commitment to Partnership for Zero with the renewal of a multi-year grant.
➔ JPMorgan Chase announced they are joining Partnership for Zero’s funding coalition with a contribution of $150,000 to the initiative. The investment is driven by their commitment to supporting the long-term success of King County and ensuring that every resident has the opportunity to thrive.
➔ Starbucks continues to offer financial and programmatic support for Partnership for Zero, and, beginning this month, Systems Advocates have been invited to use some Starbucks locations in Seattle to connect with unsheltered community members over a beverage and offer case management and access to social services. As a proud member of the Seattle business community for more than 50 years, Starbucks has a long history of working through public-private partnerships to build a stronger, kinder, and more resilient city.
Partnership for Zero has the continued support of Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Campion Foundation, Costco, Expedia Group, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Kaiser Permanente Washington, Madrona Venture Group, Microsoft Philanthropies, Nordstrom, PATH, Puget Sound Energy, Raikes Foundation, REI, Russell Investments, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Symetra, T-Mobile, Weyerhaeuser, and Zillow Group.
Statements from Partnership for Zero Leaders and Partners:
King County Executive Dow Constantine:
“Over the last year, Partnership for Zero has built a strong foundation toward our shared goal of ensuring that people have access to stable and safe housing, prioritizing actions that respond to – and will ultimately help prevent – homelessness in our community. These new investments and our ongoing collaboration across government, businesses, and philanthropic organizations are how we can continue implementing innovative solutions that help people gain health, stability, and a place to call their own.”
Mayor of Seattle Bruce Harrell:
“New and renewed investments in Partnership for Zero represent a true commitment to collaboration – something we know is critical to addressing root causes of homelessness and helping people in need access a path to recovery. Government, philanthropy organizations, community groups, non-profits, businesses large and small – by combining our resources, expertise and shared values, we are working with urgency to build the sustainable systems capable of driving lasting progress on the homelessness crisis.”
Marc Dones, CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority:
“Through partnership and collaboration, our community has implemented something that has never been done before. We are learning and improving, we are making real, clear progress, and other jurisdictions are following our lead. This is the kind of collective action that can solve complex problems like homelessness.”
Felicia Salcedo, Executive Director of We Are In:
“The latest investments in Partnership for Zero are further proof not only of the promise and success of this strategy, but also of the necessity of public-private collaboration. We Are In is proud to be bringing community partners together in order to achieve our shared goal of dramatically reducing homelessness in our region.”
Washington State Lived Experience Coalition–Seattle/King County Chapter:
“There is still work to be done. Through equitable partnerships like these, the voices of those closest to the problem are included in the solutions for our community to ensure the promise of housing for all. Housing saves lives.”
Andi Smith, Executive Director, Washington of Ballmer Group:
“We are proud to continue to support Partnership for Zero, an unprecedented public-private collaboration that is tackling homelessness differently than what has been done before in our region. Over the past year, the initiative has built critical infrastructure needed to achieve our collective goal of dramatically reducing homelessness, first in Downtown and the CID, and ultimately, across the region.”
AJ Jones II, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Starbucks: “Today, we are reaffirming our commitment and demonstrating an even greater dedication to the fabric of the communities we serve. Nowhere is this more important than in our hometown of Seattle, where comprehensive and human-centered approaches must be leveraged to fully meet the challenge of crisis of chronic homelessness. So, it is with great pride that we stand alongside Mayor Harrell, County Executive Constantine, other philanthropic and business leaders in this effort.”
Phyllis Campbell, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase Pacific Northwest:
“JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping our local community make a long-term investment in reducing the number of unsheltered homeless people, while helping to restore public safety. This is a challenging situation and it’s essential that the private and public sectors collaborate. We feel our support of Partnership for Zero is an important way we are helping to build the long-term success of the local economy. Residents of our city are facing a crisis – too many cannot access social services and find housing. As a result, they’re missing out on a critical opportunity to be personally and professionally successful.”
Governor Christine Gregoire, CEO of Challenge Seattle:
“Our region is known for its achievements and leadership in retail, technology, aerospace, and more, and now Partnership for Zero is bringing that same innovation to the challenge of homelessness. A truly unprecedented public-private collaboration, Partnership for Zero brings the resources and creativity needed to respond to homelessness. Our business and philanthropic leaders are confident in this new approach, leading to new and renewed investments in the initiative. We are already seeing meaningful progress and the momentum will only build — together, we can take bold action and accomplish big things.”