Each candidate running for the Burien City Council Aug. 1, 2023 Primary Election was asked ten questions by The B-Town Blog, covering topics like their reasons for wanting to serve on the council, what they think about current issues in the city, and what kind of solutions they have.

The following responses to the fourth question in our series are from candidates for Position No. 4, which is currently held by Kevin Schilling, who is running for reelection.

NOTECandidates are listed in order as per the King County Elections online Voters Guide website. Photos and links are to/from each candidate’s profile on the same website.

What are the best practices and models that Burien can learn from or adopt to address homelessness?

Kevin Schilling

“I believe in social services. Whether it’s services in Burien, or services in a neighboring community, I believe Burien’s law enforcement and human services departments should connect people with opportunities to turn their lives around.

“When it comes to social services, I walk the talk. I have spent time coordinating services with St. Vincent de Paul, Union Gospel Mission, Chief Seattle Club, Mary’s Place, and Transform Burien. During the pandemic, I joined AmeriCorps to respond to the housing and hunger crisis in our community among-low income seniors and families by coordinating federal resources to many in our public housing communities. 

“Here’s a few other ways I’ve fought for social services and housing justice:

  • “I’ve worked for more housing for all income levels. I am proud to have voted in favor of affordable housing programs in Burien, as well as pushed Burien to streamline permitting for construction and development of new housing of all kinds. Burien shouldn’t become unaffordable just because it’s next door to Seattle.
  • “I’ve fought for more emergency housing. I was proud to lead the charge to pass emergency shelter permitting on Council.  We need to reduce costs and timeframes for more construction of housing at all levels, including shelter, rapid re-housing, long term, supportive, affordable, and market-rate housing. I have a record of partnering with behavioral and mental health care providers, including St. Anne’s Hospital, NAVOS, and SeaMar.
  • “I’ve fought hard to get Burien its “fair share” in social service funding. That’s part of why I have so much support from South Sound leaders. They know I’m an effective voice, from Burien to the federal level.”

Patricia Hudson

“It is important to follow proven methods, such as using a housing first model, when addressing chronic homelessness. In order to keep people housed, we must create housing options that are based on income. Additionally, we have a need to increase our housing inventory. 

“One way to do this is to repurpose abandoned buildings to create affordable housing, which was done effectively in Houston, TX. We need to create a systemwide effort in Burien to coordinate our homelessness response by providing services and housing for our community and by basing these services on income. 

“We must involve our community in the process and work together to create a system that is best for Burien. We can model our efforts after Houston however, we must customize these solutions so that they are best for our neighborhoods here. We need to work regionally to help provide both mental health counseling and other recovery services to those in need who are willing to utilize these services.”

Daniel Reed Martin

“There are many and sometimes winding paths from being unhoused to being housed, but they all center on housing. Housing insecurity is a lot broader an issue than the handful of people who sleep outside the businesses visibly on Main Street, and addressing it involves protecting and providing resources for people before they lose their housing, protecting low-wage workers, expanding options for ownership, co-ownership, and expansion. It involves taking seriously and collaborating with leadership at all levels of government, and with the advice and input of community partners in our faith communities and nongovernmental partners.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Look for answers to this same question by candidates for Burien City Council, Position No. 4 here.

Next up in our 2023 election series – we ask Burien City Council candidates:

How would you measure and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of Burien’s homelessness policies and programs?

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors...