King County’s crisis center levy: Get to know the basics before you vote

By Seattle Times Mental Health Project engagement reporter The Mental Health Project is a Seattle…

King County’s crisis center levy: Get to know the basics before you vote
King County’s crisis center levy: Get to know the basics before you vote

The Mental Health Project is a Seattle Times initiative focused on covering mental and behavioral health issues. It is funded by Ballmer Group, a national organization focused on economic mobility for children and families. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over work produced by this team.

In Washington state, when someone experiences a mental or behavioral health crisis, they must navigate a complex health system to get help. Often, people end up in emergency rooms or jails. 

On April 25, voters have the opportunity to decide whether to approve a levy funding the construction and operation of five new 24/7 crisis centers in King County. Officials hope the proposed facilities would provide centralized places where people in immediate need of mental and behavioral health services can seek care.

The proposal divides the county geographically into four regions. One crisis center would be planned in each region, and a fifth center would be designated for youth. People experiencing a mental health crisis or substance use disorder could walk themselves into any of the crisis centers, regardless of where or whether they live in King County.

More coverage of the proposed King County Crisis Care Centers Levy:

The property tax that would fund the new crisis centers would be set at 14.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value. A homeowner with a property valued at the median in King County could expect to pay about $121 more annually in taxes. 

The first two crisis centers are slated to open in 2026, and the final facility would be expected to open in 2030. However, the levy also could support immediate investments in supportive housing programs and money toward existing mental health facilities beginning next year.

The Seattle Times answers common questions about the proposed levy in the graphics below.

The Ballmer Group, which funds The Seattle Times Mental Health Project, has contributed to the levy campaign. Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain full editorial control over our journalism.