SEATTLE -

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has hired someone to manage what he calls the growing scope of work around the issue of homelessness in the city.

Murray said in a news release Tuesday that George Scarola will be the city's first cabinet-level director of homelessness, charged with leading and overseeing efforts across multiple departments.

Scarola has 25 years of public affairs and community relations experience, including leading a project that converted housing at the Sand Point Naval Air Station into homes for unsheltered youth, adults and families, city officials said.

Even as homelessness declined slightly nationwide in 2015, it increased in urban areas, including Seattle. Authorities say in King County, there were 91 presumed homeless deaths last year, compared with 64 in 2014.

Scarola will be paid an annual salary of $137,500 and will start this week.