Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a reorganization of the bureaucracy responding to the homelessness crisis last week. The new plan creates a new deputy director of homelessness position and expands a police unit that responds to homeless encampments under the auspices of the Human Services Department (HSD).
The deputy director position will go to Tiffany Washington, who currently serves as the division director of Homeless Strategy & Investments. Fred Podesta, a longtime city employee who most recently headed the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), will lead the expanding Navigation Team. Calvin Goings, who currently serves as the Seattle City Light chief of staff, will replace him.
The changes are meant to make the homelessness response more efficient, Durkan said in a press release.
Moving the Navigation Team more squarely under the HSD banner will also consolidate the direct response to homelessness within the department that handles the programmatic side. Work on the homelessness crisis has been largely split between HSD and FAS, which also manages governmental branches such as animal control.
The last major shakeup in the leadership of the city’s homelessness response was former Mayor Ed Murray’s appointment of George Scarola as the first cabinet-level director of homelessness. When Durkan took over in November 2017, Scarola left the Mayor’s Office and moved to FAS.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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