About the Homeless Investments RFP

Interventions that work

In 2016, HSD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with All Home, King County, and United Way of King County committing to a shared set of performance measures for the agencies they fund with the vision of homelessness as rare, brief and one-time in our community. Pathway's Home, the City's action plan and policy framework for addressing homelessness, has as one of its core principles, investing in programs that work.  Using these metrics on a quarterly basis, the funders are able to track which programs are helping to move people into housing.

The five key performance metrics are:

  • Entries from homelessness - people in the program are actually experiencing homelessness at the time of service, rather than housing instability;
  • Exits to permanent housing - the percentage of total exits to a permanent housing destination
  • Length of stay - how long people stay in the program;
  • Returns to homelessness - any household who exited a program to a permanent housing destination six months prior to the report period, and then subsequently accessed Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Rapid Rehousing, Permanent Supportive Housing or a Safe Haven program.
  • Utilization rate - the program's ability to serve as many people as possible

The Human Services Department will embed System Performance Measures into all 2018 contracts and will track outcomes in the HSD Program Outcomes Report. 


In adopting Pathways Home, the City has begun to shift its response to homelessness to a person-centered paradigm. Recipients of the Homeless Investments funding will be expected to provide services that are customized to fit an individual's needs rather than following strict programmatic guidelines. These programs will match people experiencing homelessness with the appropriate housing resources, and respond to the unique needs of each individual and family based on their strengths, needs, and vulnerabilities. Through this person-centered paradigm, homeless services will support low barrier projects to enable people to move into stable housing. In 2017, HSD is funding two enhanced shelters that eliminate some of the barriers that prevent people from coming inside. These are places where they can come with their partners, pets, possessions, and without prerequisites for being sober.  

Address Racial Disparities

Racial Disparities

Homelessness disproportionately affects people of color when compared to the overall population in Seattle. In conjunction with the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI)-a citywide effort to end institutionalized racism and race-based inequities in Seattle-HSD is committed to funding culturally responsive services to create positive outcomes for service recipients. Agencies applying for the Homeless Investments RFP will demonstrate the capacity to institute these principles through routine delivery of participant-centered and strength-based services that are culturally:

  • COMPETENT, as demonstrated by "the ability to honor, understand, and respect beliefs, lifestyles, attitudes, and behaviors demonstrated by diverse groups of people, and to diligently act on that understanding
  • RESPONSIVE to the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations. Agencies have the capacity to effectively serve and engage persons of diverse backgrounds. Agencies commit to practicing cultural responsiveness throughout all levels of the program, including policy, governance, staffing, and service model and delivery. Agencies make every effort to recruit and retain a work force (paid and voluntary), and policy-setting and decision-making bodies, that are reflective of the focus populations identified in the theory of change.  
  •  RELEVANT in addressing the cultural needs of diverse populations whose models of engagement or cultural standards differ from mainstream practices. Agencies are staffed with people who have the cultural competency to create authentic and effective relationships and provide culturally responsive services for members of specific cultural groups and/or communities of color.
  • ACCESSIBLE through language, location, and delivery style. Agencies have the capacity to overcome mainstream barriers and/or provide effective alternative strategies that enable residents to easily access mainstream and nontraditional programs and services. 

Integrated Engagement System

integrated engagement system integrated engagement system 2

The RFP is just one tool the City is using in coordination with King County and United Way of King County to help Seattle grapple with homelessness and focus on moving people into housing.  All three organizations are funders who have agreed upon performance targets that the area programs must meet. This is a way to align the community priorities across the entire network of service providers, and tie funding to overall outcomes.  Importantly, proposals that demonstrate collaboration among programs to achieve results will receive additional credit in the review process. 

Agencies and organizations who are selected through the RFP process will enter into contracts that track the following agreed upon performance measures:

  • Average Length of Stay
  • Exits to Permanent Housing
  • Entries from Homelessness
  • Returns to Homelessness
  • Utilization Rate

The Homeless Investments RFP

The $30 million included in the RFP is part of HSD's annual base budget which is $50 million for 2017.  Services and programs that were recently awarded as part of a competitive bidding process (e.g. Navigation Center) or are part of a separate funding cycle (including some federal funds) will not be included in this RFP.  The RFP will solicit proposals in the following project areas:

rfp project area

rfp timeline

HSD has been engaging with the community in preparing the RFP itself.  Councilmembers and their staff, provider boards and coalitions, philanthropy partners, and individuals who have experience living homeless were among the audiences for more than 60 presentations about the RFP that were given throughout the spring and summer. The feedback from these sessions, as well as the results of the 2016 Needs Assessment survey that HSD conducted of more than 1,000 people living homeless, the 2015 Homeless Investment Analysis, as well as the Barbara Pope and Focus Strategies reports were also used to inform the RFP development. 

rfp scoring

Scoring for Rapid Re-Housing, Transitional Housing, Emergency Shelter, and Permanent Supportive Housing projects will be weighted 40% on past performance based on the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data agencies have provided from January to June 2017, and 60% on the application and budget responses in the RFP. (New projects with no prior HMIS data in the project type proposed will complete a supplemental project application).  Other projects will be scored 100% on the application and budget responses in the RFP. Applicants also will have an interview with review panels to discuss their proposals as part of the review process.  Rating panels will include City staff with knowledge of the various service areas, other public funders, staff from philanthropic institutions, and people with lived experience of homelessness. 

The deadline for proposal submission is September 5 at 4 p.m. and final awards will be announced in December.  Contracts will cover the 2018 fiscal year that begins in January.