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 fifth question in our series are from candidates for Position 4, which is currently filled by Kevin Schilling, who is running for reelection.
Ballots are due by Aug. 1, 2023.
NOTE: Candidates 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.
How would you measure and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of Burien’s homelessness policies and programs?
“I believe there’s only one way to understand our homelessness crisis: at the ground level. Here’s how I believe that should work:
- “We should collect extensive data on social service programs, and stop investing in programs that can’t prove they’re effective. I believe we should make sure city services are effectively connecting Burien’s unhoused population with life-changing services. That means accurately measuring the impact of the crisis. I have been criticized for being too “tough” on service providers and officials. In this crisis, I believe it’s reasonable to be “tough” in making sure we’re effectively spending resources and getting results for the folks who need help.
- “We should build on our successes. We should listen closest to those who have broken the cycles of homelessness, mental health, and addiction. I will make sure those voices are central to the conversation. It’s time to provide services that truly help ‘break the cycle’.
- “We should demand ground-level results. Local programs should operate with the goal of changing lives and restoring public spaces. Simply showing referrals to available programs isn’t enough. We should demand that programs successfully encourage folks to pursue available resources. Again, measurable results should be the goal.”
“Success of homeless response policies and programs can only be based on the outcomes of people receiving those services. Prior to evaluating policies and programs, we need to develop goals and objectives for success that can be measured.”
“I would measure their effectiveness by their results. Nobody should be sleeping outside in Burien. No one should be left with no other options than to pitch a tent on a public easement and hope that their government doesn’t rezone or enter a private lease to kick them off.
“With nearby shelter and inpatient beds full, with housing in impossibly short supply, the least the city could do is to provide some public accommodation for the dozens of people living outside in our city. Public toilet and hygiene facilities at the minimum should be provided. The city’s offer of no-strings-attached money for tiny homes could have been acted on over a month ago.
“Instead, this council has engaged in “scapegoating”, “bullying” behavior that drove out an entire volunteer Planning Commission and sparked resignations and complaints from dozens of other commissioners, as well as denunciations from the county Democratic party and the 33rd Legislative District Democrats. While Council has delayed taking official notice of King County’s offer of money to help, they have spent their time and city resources on approving sweep after sweep, and by retaliating against the one citizen who took time to find a yes in accordance with the law.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Look also for answers to this same question by candidates for Burien City Council, Position No. 2.
Next up in our 2023 election series – we ask Burien City Council candidates: