South King County Updates for June 2021 

CM Upthegrove Logo & Headshot

Health Through Housing Update 

Dear Neighbor,

I’m excited to see the County’s Health through Housing plan moving forward with the recent purchase of two hotels – the Inn at Queen Anne and the Extended Stay America in Renton – which will provide supportive housing for the chronically homeless.  Additional purchases will be announced in coming weeks and the plan is to have 800 units operational by the end of 2021. 

While the cost savings of this innovative model is appealing – it’s almost half the cost of building new permanent supportive housing – I am truly excited about this approach which demonstrates compassion to those who are struggling and a commitment to help them turn their lives around.

Under the Health through Housing model, existing single unit facilities, such as hotels, motels and nursing homes, are purchased to provide supportive housing for the chronically homeless with an income of 0-30% of the area median income. By offering a roof over the heads of those struggling on the streets, and the services they need to keep them housed and on a better path, this program will place 1600 people into emergency housing by October 2022. 

Housing is a human right and once housed, an individual can focus on other aspects of their lives – finding a job, dealing with an addiction or mental health issue, or just decompressing enough to be able to chart next steps.  Safe and stable housing can turn a life around and this is an important step for many of our most vulnerable community members.

Helping Those Who Have Lost Everything

Earlier this month, 36 families, including more than 200 children, were displaced from their homes after a fire tore through the Waterview Apartments in Des Moines.

Thanks to the Red Cross and the heroic efforts of African Community Housing and Development (ACHD) and Waterview management, the families have secured temporary housing but many of their personal items were lost forever.  I was pleased to be able to support them with $2500 to assist with necessary purchases during this challenging time.

Waterview Apartments - Des Moines

King County Launches Pilot Program to Reduce Gun Violence

As we emerge from the COVID 19 pandemic, it is clear that we continue to face another epidemic – one that is just as fatal to those it touches and one that also disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and Latinx community members.  Just like COVID-19, gun violence is a public health issue and a new pilot program called the Regional Peacekeepers Collective (RPKC) seeks to address violence using a public health approach that ensures the treatment and recovery of all people involved.

Community-based organizations involved in the programs will organize collaboratively to provide:

  • Rigorous intervention for those directly involved
  • Secondary prevention for younger siblings
  • Follow-up care and support for family restoration and healing

Gun violence was just one of the topics raised by youth on my District 5 Youth Advisory Council (see below) and we need to do more to ensure our youth do not grow up in a community where violence – of any kind – is the norm.

To learn more about the RPKC and the County’s Regional Community Safety and Well-being Plan, go to:

D5 Youth Advisory Council Community Project Presentation

If you have not yet seen the video, be sure to check out the District 5 (D5) Youth Advisory Council's community project presentation!

I had the pleasure of joining six of our teens on Facebook Live as they presented their projects which highlighted issues they are concerned about in their communities and recommended solutions that we all could implement to make our community a safer, healthier and better place.

From homelessness to mental health, these teens continue to remind us of the importance of including youth voice in all decision making and I am excited to see these teens continue growing as leaders in our community

The D5 Youth Advisory Council has been providing me with direct input on issues and concerns they face within their community over the last six months. In addition to sharing their experience, teens have also gotten the opportunity to gain new skills and learn from community leaders and County employees about the work they do.  I look forward to the 2022 D5 Youth Advisory Council and thank the members of this year’s cohort.


Celebrating Juneteenth

On June 19th, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued, Union troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended, and they were free.

June 19th, known today as “Juneteenth,” has been celebrated by the descendants of those enslaved people for over a century. Not only is this a day to celebrate their freedom but also as a day when they were finally recognized as a whole person by the country their ancestors were forced to build.

We must remember the historical significance of Juneteenth and actively work to address the inequities and systems of oppression still harming our Black community here in King County and across our nation.

While there is still much work to be done, let us take this day to learn, to remember, and to celebrate.

I was honored to join Kent Black Action Commission’s Virtual Celebration.  You can check out my Juneteenth remarks at the 1:55 mark - here

KBAC Juneteenth Event

As the Council continues to operate remotely, now is the perfect time to engage with our work and share your thoughts on legislation before us.


My team and I are available via email at


You can watch Council meetings via livestream on the Councils website or on KCTV channel 22. We take general public comment on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

To learn more about testifying before Council go to:



Dave Upthegrove

King County Councilmember
District 5