King County launches reporting website for equity efforts

The new site details efforts and shortcomings as the county attempts to minimize inequity.

King County has recently launched its online public reporting site where county officials will provide updates on the county’s progress in fulfilling the Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan.

In what is intended to be a push for transparency, King County executives are aiming to offer details, data and stories as it works to promote equity and social justice throughout the county.

“In King County, we’re taking bold action to promote equity and social justice, living up to our promise as a place where all people have equitable opportunities to thrive,” said King County executive Dow Constantine in a promotional video.

Currently, the website provides a look at the 2016-22 Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan, the history of the county and a link to previous annual reports regarding equity in King County.

The strategic plan leads with racial justice as a primary focus.

“A lot of people here are are doing really well, but when you look detailed into the numbers, you find that we have some very significant inequities” said Ngozi Oleru, director of the county’s Environmental and Public Health departments, in a 2017 strategic plan video. “Those inequities are very stark.”

“When we look at all of the data, one thing just keeps coming out as being more detrimental, more of an impact than anything else, and it is disparities based on race,” said Jesse Chipps, HIV Planning Council administrator for the county Public Health department in the video.

The website currently outlines the changes and efforts made in 2017 and what is happening now in 2018.

The primary focus of the strategic plan is extending help toward those who need it most. According to the reports from 2017, people of color are the majority of those assisted in many of the county’s efforts.

King County launched the Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative (YFHPI) last year which aimed to keep families off the streets. According to the county report, of the 4,200 people served 1,100 were families with children, and 94 percent of them were still housed at the end of 2017. The YFHPI accomplished the result by funding community-based organizations on a local level to prevent family homelessness.

An infographic that was included in a report on King County’s online public reporting site for our Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan. Photo courtesy of King County

An infographic that was included in a report on King County’s online public reporting site for our Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan. Photo courtesy of King County

King County also is focusing efforts to preserve affordable housing near public transit centers, support immigrant communities, improve health and well-being for young children and reduce racial disproportionality in the juvenile justice system. The efforts are detailed online at the county’s website.

The county also is reporting on how it is addressing inequities in civil engagement. Low-income communities and communities of color have been the most impacted, according to the county report, and they also face barriers to civil engagement.

The county also outlined efforts to make government contacting more inclusive and accessible to smaller businesses owned by women, veterans, LGBT people, and people of color alongside efforts to support underfunded community-based organizations.

The public reporting website also allows locals to look into what specific county departments are doing in accordance to the strategic plan.