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King County homeless agency close to hiring lone candidate for CEO role


(The Center Square) – The King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s Implementation Board is recommending the lone candidate for the permanent CEO position be appointed.

KCRHA’s Implementation Board voted 7-2 in favor of recommending Kelly Kinnison to be the agency’s first permanent CEO since Marc Dones stepped down from the role in May 2023.

The agency’s Governing Committee will now vote on appointing Kinnison to the permanent CEO position.

Kinnison is based out of Washington D.C. where she is currently the director of family and community policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Kinnison oversees the development of legislative proposals and policy on employment and economic mobility, refugee resettlement, housing, and homelessness.

Since Dones left, KCRHA has had two interim CEOs, including L. Darrell Powell, who recently withdrew his candidacy from the permanent CEO search because he does not believe the agency is in a position to make strides in helping homeless people in King County, as previously reported by The Center Square. Powell said that “significant governance changes and personnel changes” would be needed to achieve that agency’s potential.

KCRHA has three separate boards that have oversight authority: the governing committee, the implementation board, and the Seattle King County Continuum of Care Board, which is in charge of applying for federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for homelessness assistance.

In Powell’s letter to KCRHA, he noted that the KCRHA’s three dozen-some members across three committees cause competing approaches and adversarial philosophies.

Last week, Seattle City Councilmember Cathy Moore, who is a part of the KCRHA Governing Committee, put out a press release calling for KCRHA to pause its search for a permanent CEO after more candidates back out of the hiring process.

In response to Moore’s call for the CEO search, KCRHA previously told The Center Square that “the final candidate is qualified and enthusiastic about leading the regional effort to address homelessness in King County.”

The United Way of King County vouched for Kinnison in a press release following the Implementation Board’s approval.

“We are optimistic that the Governing Board will agree that this is the leader we need,” the organization said in a statement. “We look forward to getting Dr. Kinnison on board as the CEO and continuing the important work of the Regional Homelessness Authority.”

As of this publication, the committee does not have any Governing Committee board meetings scheduled on the website for a final vote on Kinnison.