The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is asking funding partners for about a 75% budget increase in 2023, seeking an additional roughly $90 million to create more than 400 new available beds and 130 new “safe spaces” for RVs.

In its first budget, for 2022, the agency received about $119 million from the city of Seattle and King County. In its second proposed budget, the authority is asking for $209 million.

Regional Homelessness Authority CEO Marc Dones told reporters Thursday that the steep ask was “not aspirational,” but rather an earnest request for a step on the way to ultimately solving homelessness in the region.

“It is about addressing, or potentially addressing I should say, some pretty significant holes in current system architecture,” Dones said, noting that the authority’s five-year plan with more long-term goals would be released in September. “It is not an ending homelessness budget.”

In 2022, the majority of funding for the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, or KCRHA, came from the city of Seattle, which provided more than $69 million of the current budget. This year, the city is facing an estimated $34 million revenue shortfall, limiting the likelihood of a full increase, as Dones acknowledged Thursday.

“We are living inside a reality where there are a number of revenue shortfalls across our funding partners. And to that end, I think that it is unreasonable to expect that everything that we put forward will be funded,” Dones said.

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At a news conference Tuesday, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said the city will continue to fund about 70% of KCRHA’s budget.

But he rebuffed the authority’s “wish list” approach, calling for the agency to home in on its priorities.

“I think, because of time, they approached the budgeting process as ‘in a perfect world, this is what I could do. This is what I want.’ And I don’t think they’ve articulated a clear expectation that they were even going to get it,” Harrell said. “And my comments to them were OK, we accept that right now. But at some point I need you to do the hard work, which is tell us exactly what you need.”

During a meeting of the KCRHA Implementation Board last week, Dones had already shared a loosely prioritized list of the big-ticket budget requests: The highest priority items, according to Dones, are $15.4 million in wage increases for service providers; $5 million for up to 130 safe parking spaces for RVs; and $1.5 million to be granted to organizations prioritizing hiring or focusing on people with the “lived experience” in homelessness.

Second-tier items include $20 million to build a high acuity shelter for up to 55 people in need of housing with higher levels of behavioral or other support, which went largely unfunded by the Seattle City Council last year, and $7.2 million for the KCRHA to hire additional staff, bringing the agency closer to the original staffing model planned during its inception.

Big-ticket items at the bottom of Dones’ list include $15 million to improve or create additional daytime spaces for people experiencing homelessness and $20 million in emergency housing.

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But, Dones said Thursday that the list is not final.

“That thinking was generated internally by staff in response to a belief that we would be asked to do that kind of tiering both by the board, and potentially by our funding partners,” Dones said. “I don’t want to go further than that at this time because I don’t have new information,” and that the city and county could possibly “come and say, here’s what revenue is going to allow us to do. And at that point, I will be able to make much better decisions.“

If the funding agencies do cut the proposed budget, Dones says they would prefer to see some new projects completely funded rather than see all of them partially funded.

“The narrative around safe parking, for example, ‘failing’ is because it has been incompletely funded in the past,” Dones said of past RV parking efforts. “So from my perspective, when we partially fund programs that are meant to serve people in this way, they actually just wind up not serving people well at all.”

“So my recommendation … will be to say, we should fully fund things, and not funding the ones that we can’t,” Dones added.

A spokesperson for Harrell said Friday that the mayor would “consider financial support for items in KCRHA’s proposed expansion where there is both policy alignment and available funding” when drafting a proposed budget for the City Council to consider this fall, noting that it would be “weighed against the city’s other competing priorities and obligations.”

But during Tuesday’s news conference, Harrell called on the KCRHA to pare its priorities.

“This is not a negotiation — you go high, I go low — because I want to be as supportive as possible,” Harrell said. “So they gave us a high number. There was a wish list in there. They fully understand we’re going to examine that number and that we reserve to put another hat on. The hat now goes on to looking at the city’s revenues and our limitations, and then we’ll come out making decisions.”