A $1.25 billion behavioral health levy is going to King County voters for consideration on the April 25 special election ballot.
The Crisis Care Centers Levy (Proposition No. 1) would raise money through a property tax spread over nine years.
The tax would fund creation of five regional crisis care centers; the preservation and restoration of residential treatment beds; growth of the behavioral health workforce pipeline; and provide immediate services while centers are being constructed.
The proposal is estimated to cost the owner of a median-value home about $121 in 2024. The levy would continue through 2032, generating a total of $1.25 billion to stabilize and strengthen King County’s behavioral health crisis care system.
The proposal includes creating five new regional crisis care centers. Distributed geographically across the county, the centers will provide walk-in access and the potential for short-term stays to help people stabilize, depending on needs, with one center specifically serving youth.
Currently, King County is without a walk-in behavioral health urgent care facility, according to the county. Only one 46-bed behavioral health crisis facility is in operation for the entire county. The region’s only voluntary crisis facility resource, DESC’s Crisis Solutions Center in Seattle, requires a referral from a first responder, hospital, designated crisis responder, or mobile response team due to its limited capacity.
According to the county, many people cycle through a revolving door of emergency rooms, jails, and homelessness because other options do not exist. As of July 2022, people wait an average of 44 days for a mental health residential bed.