King County, Washington: A Portfolio of Programs to Assist Households with Special Needs in Suburban Seattle

Posted by Pam Blanton on October 15, 2011

From United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Stephen Norman is the Executive Director of the King County Housing Authority (KCHA), located just outside of Seattle, Washington.  He described three programs administered by KCHA that play a key role in King County’s efforts to end homelessness.

The Housing Access and Services Program (HASP)

The Housing Access and Services Program (HASP) is a scattered-site, tenant-based Section 8 voucher program for residents with a disability, including mental health disabilities.  Approximately 1,800 vouchers are set aside for this program, which has been in operation for over a decade and has a very good track record of success.

Keys to Success

The various public agencies involved in this program – including KCHA and some of the major human service and behavioral healthcare systems (e.g. the County Mental Health Division, Aging and Disability Services, the Veterans Administration, and Division of Developmental Disabilities) – met to design a supportive housing program targeted to those at greatest risk of homelessness.  The group realized they needed services and housing to be well coordinated, and that they needed to identify a lead entity to ensure accountability and make this happen.  The multiple systems agreed to pool resources to contract with a non-profit to coordinate the process and work with the individual non-profit service providers that are referring households to the program.  They chose the YWCA based on its proposal and its extensive experience working with the most vulnerable households in King County.

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