For the first time in over a decade, The City of Seattle Human Services Department is facilitating an open and competitive funding process for homelessness services and support. The Homeless Investments RFP seeks applications from agencies that provide services that support movement toward and access to permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. $30 million in funding is available through this RFP. Awards will be given to service providers that demonstrate the ability to address the RFP Program Areas: Homelessness Prevention, Diversion, Outreach & Engagement, Emergency Services, Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing, and to deliver person-centered services, show results, and address racial disparities.

The Issue

number of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle

On January 27, 2017, a Point in Time count found that there were 8,476 people experiencing homelessness in Seattle.  This includes 4,619 who were found in emergency shelters or in transitional housing (shelter with additional services).  However, it also includes 3,857 who were sleeping in tents, vehicles and RVs, and on the street. Earlier this year, All Home-who coordinated the Point in Time count commissioned a person-person survey completed by 1,158 people reflecting a representative sample of the unsheltered and sheltered population across King County. Key findings revealed:

  • People experiencing homelessness in King County are our neighbors, and overwhelmingly local.
  • History of domestic violence or partner abuse is prevalent;
  • Homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color;
  • Half of all people surveyed reported a disabling condition;
  • Nearly a third are maintaining employment;
  • Loss of job (30%), drug/alcohol problems (20%), or eviction (11%) were the leading causes of homelessness;
  • Rental assistance and affordable housing were the top two supports needed; and
  • Homelessness is not a choice.

The Response

The city has initiated many initiatives under Mayor Murray's administration to understand the complexities of homelessness and its solutions

City response to homelessness

Pathways Home is the City of Seattle's framework for addressing homelessness. This framework is driven by three guiding principles:  1) Create a Person-Centered, Systemic Response; 2) Invest in Programs that Work; and 3) Address Racial Disparities. During 2017, HSD is implementing actions in six key areas that work together to improve services for people who are homeless,  in addition to competitively bidding funding opportunities through the Homeless Investments RFP.

pathways home focus areas

The Investment

2017 city homeless funding

The Human Services Department provides services for people experiencing homelessness by funding agencies and organizations in the community.  In 2016, HSD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with All Home, King County, and United Way of King County committing to collectively align homeless system providers through funding investments and other strategies. These funders agreed upon 5 performance targets for results. In 2017, HSD's Homeless Strategy and Investment Division released $50 million to community-based organizations that provide emergency services, permanent housing support, diversion, and general services for people experiencing homelessness, among other service areas. 

As part of Pathways Home, HSD chose to release a competitive RFP in 2017 for homeless investments. In releasing the Homeless Investments RFP, HSD will align its investments with the Pathways Home principles (Create a Person-Centered, Systemic Response, Invest in Models with Demonstrated Success, and Address Racial Disparities) and with broader system transformation efforts outlined in the MOU.

Information Sessions

information sessions