A better dashboard for the King County homeless response

Jeff Keenan, with the support of the Third Door Coalition, has been working for the past few years on designing a better “dashboard” for quantifying the response to the homelessness crisis in King County.

There is certainly no lack of local government “homelessness dashboards” here in the Seattle area, but Jeff’s differs in that he goes beyond trying to count the homeless individuals or how much is being spent to provide services to them. Jeff’s dashboard provides a “gap analysis” between the need for new permanent supportive housing (PSH) for chronically homeless persons and how much is in the pipeline toward being built by January 2025. He does the same for emergency shelter, noting that the two are related: every time an individual moves into a new PSH unit, that is one less person who needs emergency shelter.

Jeff’s monthly snapshot is still a work in progress: much of the pertinent information is still not made available by local governments. He is still building out sub-regional views for the county, and a deeper look at service provision. But it’s a good and important wake-up call on what it will really take to fully address homelessness: to fill the gap in PSH will require $1.17 billion in capital investments, and $65.2 million per year in ongoing operational costs.

There is also an accompanying online version of the PSH gap analysis here that dives deeper into what happens over time.

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