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00000181-fa79-da89-a38d-fb7f2b910000KUOW is joining forces with other Seattle media outlets to highlight the homeless crisis in the city and region on Wednesday, June 29, 2017.The effort was modeled after a collaboration by more than 70 San Francisco outlets to focus a day of news attention on the issue and possible solutions.Read more about the Seattle project and check out our coverage below. Follow the city's coverage by using #SeaHomeless.HighlightsThe Jungle: an ongoing coverage project going into the notorious homeless encampment under Interstate 5.Ask Seattle's Homeless Community: KUOW is launching a Facebook group where anyone may ask a question about homelessness, but only people who have experienced it may answer. This was inspired by a recent event KUOW co-presented with Seattle Public Library and Real Change, where residents of the Jungle answered audience questions. No End In Sight: an award-winning investigative project from KUOW about King County's 10-year plan to end homelessness.

After critical report, King County and Seattle pledge to streamline homelessness services

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KUOW/Amy Radil
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At a Salvation Army shelter, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an agreement pledging to align their homelessness funding process.

A King County audit criticized local efforts to fight homelessness as fragmented this week, saying no single entity has enough decision-making power to make an impact. Against that backdrop, Seattle and King County officials are now promising to streamline how they deliver homelessness services.

The new audit said King County and its cities lack a formal, binding process to align funding decisions. Speaking at a men’s shelter in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, King County Executive Dow Constantine said a new memorandum between the county and Seattle will  a more coordinated approach.

“The agreement we’re signing today takes on issues of governance," Constantine said. "It improves coordination, first between King county and the City of Seattle, and then on a more regional scale.”

The audit is the latest in a series of studies — they’ve all pointed to the same weaknesses in the funding structure and said that structure hinders the government’s response to homelessness.  

Lawry Smith, coordinates the Salvation Army’s social services in Seattle, said she’s cautiously optimistic that something will change this time.

"We have city contracts and county contracts," Smith said. "And so, if I’m understanding it correctly, if it’s all going to come through one pipeline, that certainly is going to make it easier for us.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan faced repeated questions on whether she supports the proposed “employee hours tax” to generate more funding for homelessness services.

“It’s not a yes or no question," she said. "We know we need more resources to address what’s happening on the streets. But at the same time we also know there’s a whole list of issues with this proposal.”

Durkan said that for her, those issues include how long the tax would last and who would be accountable for the spending.

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Year started with KUOW: 2005