Skagit County North Star Project Call to Action signed by local elected officials

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- Earlier this year, Skagit County launched the North Star project, a multi-phased whole-of government effort to address behavioral health and homelessness in Skagit County. Subsequently, in March, the Mayors and Commissioners issued a public statement in which they committed to join forces and align their efforts to work toward a healthy and thriving community to ensure the well-being of every Skagitonian, according yo a news release from the county.

Signatories of the Call to Action acknowledge that government alone cannot solve the current crisis but recognize an obligation and an opportunity to lay a foundation for the systems change work that is necessary. "Only with a coordinated effort amongst Skagit County leadership will we be able to have the positive impact on these societal ills that our citizens desire and deserve,” said City of Burlington Mayor, Steve Sexton. “The North Star Project is a by-product of unprecedented collaboration between the leaders of Skagit County. We must not let this moment pass us by”.

To the end, the signatories of the Call to Action individually and collectively make the following commitments:

- To actively participate in and remain engaged at a leadership level with the North Star Project.
- To provide county and city resources that may be necessary to execute the work plan. Such resources will include staff time and expertise and funding as jointly determined to be necessary.
- To promote a collaborative, inclusive, and transparent process that builds trust throughout the community.
- To approach the work from a county-wide perspective, understanding that needs vary from city to city and between unincorporated areas of the county, and that it is in the collective interest of all jurisdictions to support and invest in solutions that show the most promise for the county as a whole.
- To recognize that enduring systems change and true collaboration will require: Pursuit of mutual benefit and honest discussion of differences; Willingness to challenge the status quo and deal with difficult issues; Readiness to learn, adapt, and embrace whatever actions the group agrees to; Commitment to holding ourselves and each other accountable.
- To acknowledge that our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity, and behavioral health crises are counting on leadership to address Skagit County’s challenges.
- To address existing disparities by engaging people with lived experience and focusing on root causes.

The goal is to develop a robust North Star framework and plan of action by the end of the year, leading to implementation in 2023.