The City of Burien last week awarded a $49,000 pilot contract to Discover Burien, a local non-profit business association, to manage and oversee homeless encampment response services to the city.
The initial contract (download PDF here) which was signed Nov. 1, 2023, has a term of two months, and is a pilot program focused initially on removing the unsanctioned encampment located on Ambaum Blvd. SW and SW 120th Street.
Discover Burien Executive Director Debra George confirmed Monday morning with The B-Town Blog that they will subcontract services from Kristine Moreland’s “The More We Love” organization to handle duties outlined in the contract. Previously, Moreland’s org was privately contracted for removing an encampment outside Grocery Outlet by the store’s owner in August (read our coverage of that here).
According to the contract, Discover Burien would serve “as the initial point of contact to the homeless as requested by Burien Police Department personnel; perform de-escalation work to reduce the likelihood of arrest and/or incarceration,” “maintain a close working relationship with the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program personnel to increase the success of the effort,” and serve as the “primary agents for disseminating information to the homeless population about City ordinances that affect the homeless population.”
“It is fairly clear that this was done in order to skirt the issue of the city contracting directly with the MoreWeLove, to do some form of sweep without direct city involvement,” Councilmember Sarah Moore said in her email newsletter sent out on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. “I plan to ask lots of questions about this move.”
This issue will likely be discussed during the City Manager’s Report at tonight’s (Monday, Nov. 6, 2023) Burien City Council meeting.