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Catherine Lester, Director
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Homeless Investment Analysis:

Through a network of investments in homeless prevention, homeless intervention, and permanent housing programs, HSD allocates nearly $40.84 million across 183 contracts and 60 agencies. HSD funds services to assist single adults, youth, young adults, and families, survivors of domestic violence, older adults, and veterans who are currently at-risk of or experiencing homelessness.

In September 2014, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray tasked HSD to conduct an evaluation of the Citys investments in homeless services, compare those investments with nationally recognized best practices, and identify ways to better meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in our communities.

View the full report here.

Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness

Mayor Ed Murray formed the Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness and tasked the group with making recommendations to help the growing number of people who are living on the streets to find shelter for the 2015 winter. The mayor has also charged the group with advancing the conversation on how the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions in the region can work together, alongside private non-profit organizations and communities of faith, to reduce homelessness and serve the needs of homeless families and individuals.

The emergency task force also reviewed the Citys current policy on authorized homeless encampments. The review will included where encampments are located, how new sites for legal encampments are identified and how neighborhoods are consulted.

Mayor Murrays Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness began its work in the fall of 2015. The group included human service providers, advocates for those impacted by homelessness, and faith and community leaders, and was chaired by Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim. Members of the task force outlined eight recommendations before Seattle City Council. before the Seattle City Council. Mayor Murray endorsed several of those recommendations, some of which will provide nearly immediate relief to those living on the street, while other steps will take more time to implement.


In January 2015, the mayor transmitted a draft ordinance to the City Council that allows for up to three permitted encampments in Seattle at any one time, each serving up to 100 people. These encampments could be located on vacant parcels in non-residential areas. Sites on both private and City lands would be eligible for permits, but the mayors proposal excludes City parks.

Under the mayors proposal, the new permitted encampments must be located within a half-mile of a transit stop and more than one mile from each other. Each site would be required to move every 12 months. Unlike the existing encampment ordinance, sponsorship by a religious organization would not be required.

These new permitted sites would be required to provide residents access to city social services developed to help people manage their challenges and transition from homelessness to more permanent housing.

The social service agencies that operate these new encampments would also participate in the same data collection tools as the Citys current homeless shelters. The client information remains private, but helps the city continue to improve service delivery. This legislation was signed in to law on March 30, 2015 by a 9-0 vote. Learn more here.

Current Encampment Protocol:

In April 2008, the City of Seattle issued multi-departmental administrative rules and an Executive Order on unauthorized encampments on City property. The purpose of the rules and procedures is to provide City departments with direction on how to respond to such encampments. They provide for a consistent, coordinated and humane response throughout the city.

Unauthorized Encampment Procedures
2010 Revision to the procedures related to outreach

If you have concerns or complaints about an encampment on City-owned property, please register your complaint with the Citys Customer Service Bureau. Use the category Customer Service BureauGeneral Inquiry on the Web page.

Emergency Services & Ending Homelessness

The City of Seattle helps struggling families and homeless people find stable housing and access other services critical to living independently, such as job training, and mental health and health care. We also support special populations, such as persons with HIV/AIDS and children leaving the foster care system.

The City of Seattle offers emergency services in:

In addition, we are a founding agency and major funder of the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness, and we created and support Safe Harbors, a data collection system that will help us end homelessness.


For information about our partners and other programs serving Seattles homeless and hungry populations, visit 211 Community Information Line by dialing 211 or 1-800-621-4636.

Seattle Human Services Department
Street address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5800, Seattle, WA 98104
Mailing address: PO Box 34215, Seattle, WA 98124-4215

Phone: 206-386-1001
Fax: 206-233-5119
TTY/TTD: 206-233-2778

Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.