Most Influential, Equity: Marc Dones
Working tirelessly to end homelessness
By Chris S. Nishiwaki March 13, 2023
Marc Dones is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential
No task is too massive for King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) CEO Marc Dones.
The consummate consensus builder, the diplomatic Dones has worked toward finding a solution to Seattle’s homelessness problem with the difficult task of intergovernmental communication, coordinating federal, state, county and municipal governments. Dones has also balanced the colossal task of coordinating the for-profit business sector and nonprofit service providers. Less than two years into the job, Dones has already made an impact.
“I would say, before Marc, you still had a lot of people in the business community arguing that this was an addiction or a crime problem,” says Seattle City Council member Andrew Lewis, also a member of the KCRHA governing committee.
“It’s been really helpful to have Marc make it very clear that homelessness is a housing problem, full stop, and get people across the spectrum to get to a housing-first solution to end the homelessness crisis.”
Dones has successfully collaborated with the private sector via the local organization We Are In on the first two phases of the five-part process to reduce homelessness in targeted areas of King County. The partnership opened the Housing Command Center in October. It has also developed a By-Name List, a comprehensive list of every person in a community experiencing homelessness.
“I think we are on track,” says Dones of the goal toward “functional zero” (no permanent downtown homeless population).
More than 1,300 emergency housing vouchers were allocated to King County under the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. King County has issued more than 60% of its allocated vouchers, nearly double the national rate of 33%.
“When we work together to focus and coordinate resources, we can, in fact, house people,” Dones notes. “Imagine if we lived in a place where no matter what you look like or where you come from, you could count on having a roof over your head? That’s what we’re working toward, today and every day.”
Those who work with Dones appreciate this approach.
“Just the fact that all of the entities that provide homelessness services know that Marc is looking and watching and making sure you are doing what you say you are doing has been a huge factor,” says Ed Prince, a Renton City Council member and the Sound Cities Association representative to the KCRHA governing board. “For some people, accountability is a dirty word. I appreciate that accountability is a priority for Marc.”