Homeless encampment in wooded area in Auburn on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing

Homeless encampment in wooded area in Auburn on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing

King County Councilmember requests audit of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority

A letter to the county auditor’s office asked for a financial and performance audit of the agency.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for audits of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority to begin next year. In a letter to King County Auditor Kymber Waltmunson, Dunn requested that the Auditor’s Office add both financial and performance audits of the Authority to the Auditor’s 2023 Work Program.

“I believe now is the appropriate time to begin assessing the financial and operational performance of the Authority,” Dunn said. “Audits now would ensure that King County and, more importantly, our tax-paying residents are getting the value promised when the Authority was established, while providing information to policy makers as we consider continued funding and allowing the [interlocal agreement] past the initial five-year term.”

Dunn cited KCRHA setbacks and other causes for concern that led him to suggest the audits. Some of these reasons included: a significant increase in the count of individuals experiencing homelessness in King County; delays in finalizing community partner contracts; guiding principles and mission of the interlocal agreement that established the KCRHA not being met; a major budget increase being requested by the KCRHA Board of Governors; and the lack of a five-year plan, as requested in the agreement.

Since the KCRHA was established in December of 2019, the Authority has had a number of significant setbacks, including: a CEO search that extended nearly a year and a half; delays in finalizing community partner contracts; and a stand-off with the federal government on the best practices for accurately counting the population of people experiencing homelessness,” Dunn wrote in his letter. “Meanwhile, the numbers of those experiencing homelessness in King County continues to worsen, while residents across King County feel hopeless because no progress is being made. All these setbacks are counter to the guiding principles of the Authority established in the ILA, and are not establishing confidence in the stakeholders—our taxpayers.

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority recently approved a budget requesting an additional $90 million, a 75 percent increase over its current budget, and Dunn says it has not completed its initial five-year plan.

While I understand the important work that the Authority is tasked to do, I would like to see that the King County Regional Homelessness Authority has met its initial expectations and goals, as listed in the ILA, before committing to a continuation of the ILA and/or funding, let alone the significant budget increase the Authority is requesting,” Dunn said in his letter. “Most importantly, we owe it to the stakeholders, our taxpaying County residents, that current systems in place are effective and that their hard-earned money is being spent wisely.

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