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Published on Thursday, December 17, 2015

AWC hosts first human services and homelessness summit, what’s next?

On December 1, over 60 city officials convened at the Shoreline City Hall for a day-long summit to discuss issues around homelessness, housing and human services. While these issues are certainly not new to many of our cities, this newly adopted legislative priority for 2016 has shed new light on this complex subject.

The summit included brief overviews of the issues facing our cities and state, as well as a panel of human services advocates and stakeholders. They included representation from the Governor’s Office, the counties and the nonprofit sector.

In addition to the panel discussion, time was set aside to hear from cities on the issues communities are facing, and to share solutions and best practices in place. It was clear from this discussion cities large and small are grappling with the issues of homelessness, affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse. The summit proved to be an important first-step in sharing with one another how we are dealing (or not dealing) with the issues and how we can work together to address some of our most vexing problems.

Several legislative recommendations were developed and include defending current human services and housing funding, seeking out additional resources for mental health and chemical dependency, pursuing new local options in the affordable housing arena, and continued support of traditional funding we have long supported such as the Housing Trust Fund. It was also recognized that additional long-term planning and conversation is needed in this area, and cities would benefit from continued work by AWC to seek out other possible legislative solutions and city collaboration.

AWC is looking forward to working on these issues in the 2016 legislative session and beyond. We will provide regular updates on our progress as we move forward.

Categories: Human services