While most of the attention on homelessness begins and ends in Seattle, it has become increasingly clear that suburban areas and residents are struggling as well.

Recognizing this, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove secured a $1 million investment to combat the issue and structured the funds to target only areas of need outside of Seattle – including Kent.

On Monday (May 21), the County Council gave its unanimous support to various countywide investments to assist cities in providing more opportunities for shelter to the homeless.

One of those investments was to the Community Engagement Center in Kent.

“Homelessness knows no geographic boundaries — and needs regional solutions and resources like the Community Engagement Center in Kent,” said Upthegrove, chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, who represents parts of Kent on the County Council. “I’m glad the County was able to partner with the city of Kent to invest in helping this program expand its services.”

The $193,673 grant to the CEC will allow the facility, operated by the Catholic Community Services, to expand the time the center is open from three hours to five hours a day. The grant will also allow the CEC to open for three days a week, instead of two and help fund case management services to help people connect with shelter and housing.

“We were delighted when Councilmember Upthegrove visited our Community Engagement Center in Kent,” said Dan Wise, Director of Homeless Services at Catholic Community Services of King County. “We are even more delighted for his leadership in helping us expand our homeless services for the most vulnerable in South King County.”

Adopted as part of the 2017-2018 King County Budget, the grant program that will supply the funding to the Community Engagement Center is designed to aid cities outside Seattle in funding new or expanded shelters, services or programs for people experiencing homelessness. Cities receiving grants were required to provide a cash or in-kind contribution.

Scott Schaefer

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