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King County homeless agency to hire second interim CEO since May 2023

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(The Center Square) – The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is transitioning to a second interim CEO as the agency continues to struggle to find a permanent hire for the position.

Current Interim CEO Helen Howell is stepping down from her position following nine months of service. In a statement, she said she believes the agency is “back on the right track” and added that the “solutions must match the scale of the challenge.”

Powell spent her time as interim CEO reviewing core agency operations, including changes in response to audits, streamlining processes for contracts and fiscal operations, and improving relationships with front-line service providers.

“Helen [Howell] stepped up into the interim CEO role from her previous deputy CEO role, and at the time she gave a commitment of six months – that has stretched into nine months, and she is stepping down of her own accord,” Senior Director of External Affairs Anne Martens said to The Center Square in an email.

The agency has not had a permanent CEO since Marc Dones stepped down from the position in May 2023 due to burnout. The agency said strong candidates for the role would have experience in operational management and the ability to develop and maintain partnerships with community-based organizations, potential resourcing partners, and other governmental agencies.

The Implementation Board of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority is now recommending L. Darrell Powell for the interim CEO position. Powell previously served as the chief financial officer for Treehouse, College Success Foundation, United Way of King County, and the YMCA of Greater Seattle. He also serves as the volunteer president for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Seattle King County Branch.

“This is an opportunity to collaborate with partners, drive change, and make a positive impact for our community,” Powell said.

Despite being recommended by the agency’s implementation board, Powell still has to be approved by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority Governing Committee.

The Governing Committee meeting has yet to be scheduled.

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