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Overview of the City of Seattle’s Homeless Services System

The City of Seattle budgeted over $86 million in 2018 for homelessness response, which includes services for people experiencing homelessness as well as clean-up costs associated with trash and debris removal and habitat preservation in areas around the city.

The Human Services Department (HSD) primarily invests in three types of services:

  • Prevention, which helps people remain in their homes;
  • Emergency, which offers safe spaces to stay and a connection to housing; and
  • Housing services, which offer financial assistance and case management to help people find housing.

These services together comprise the homeless services system. The following model demonstrates how a person may interact with this system.

The blue represents prevention programs, red represents emergency services and green represents housing programs. Outreach and Engagement (in purple), which includes both outreach to people living on the street and case management services for people seeking permanent housing, are present in every part of the system.

In the first six months of 2018, city funds supported 2,644 household exits from homeless services programs (for example, shelter, villages, rapid rehousing and diversion) to permanent housing and 1,815 chronically homeless households in maintaining their housing. This is a 35% increase in household exits from services to permanent housing over last year. You can read more about the results of the first six months of 2018 here.