This case study focuses on a pledge made by Seattle’s Mayor Paul Schell on June 2, 1998. He pledged to rid the city of homeless families with children or homeless women by Christmas. Schell was known as a no-nonsense visionary and it was exciting to hear that he had such a passion for the homeless. As a former developer, it was no surprise that Schell was committed to housing. He enjoyed the support of both Democrats and Republicans including the manager in the case, Alan Painter who shared the mayor's commitment and enthusiasm for reducing homelessness in the city. Painter had dedicated his professional career to serving the needs of the homeless but he was concerned about how the mayor's pledge would actually become reality. Painter knows the current strategies and capacities of the city to address homelessness, but now must develop a strategy to fulfill this new pledge. The case describes homelessness in Seattle, current programs and strategies implemented by the city government, and the mayor's pledge. The case ends with Painter wondering how his agency and the city will respond to the mayor's pledge. King County has one of the nation's best-established point-in-time counts of homeless people. The One Night Count remains the largest community-organized count in the United States. Since 1980, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH ~ pronounced "Skitch") and Operation Night Watch have organized the One Night Count of people who are without shelter. The One Night Count has two parts:
1. A survey of emergency shelter and transitional housing providers about who is staying in their programs or facilities on that night. Staff from the King County Community Services Division, Homeless Housing Program coordinates the survey. 2. A street count of people who are homeless, without shelter and staying outside, in vehicles or in makeshift shelters. SKCCH has expanded the count from its downtown Seattle origins to include parts of 11 suburban...
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