City Budget 2018 - priorities
These budget priorities have been formulated by the organizations active in the Housing For All Coalition. Please note that not every organization that has signed onto the Housing For All letter and platform has reviewed and endorsed all of these specific positions.
Fund immediate survival solutions, not sweeps and bureaucracy
- In the Mayor’s proposed budget, over $3 million for the Human Services Division is earmarked for a second Navigation Team to focus on people living in vehicles, an HMIS scan-card system, and a new position to coordinate unsanctioned encampment removals. This money should be redirected to increasing the quantity, quality and accessibility of shelter and services, including services for unsanctioned encampments.
- Fully fund and double the number of sanctioned encampments and tiny house villages, starting with Nickelsville Ballard, so that more people have a safe community to go to.
- The City should contribute $1.5 million toward the purchase of the South Annex Properties at Broadway & Pine from Seattle Central College, to be used for shelter, services, transitional housing, and ultimately housing for homeless youth. We strongly urge that these be LGBTQ-affirming and safe and welcoming for trans youth, given 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.
- We support a budget proviso stopping City departments from spending money on removals of unsanctioned encampments on public land, whenever they are not irredeemably unsafe or in conflict with other public uses of the site. This does not prevent spending on services, health, or safety.
- Before any funding is shifted from existing shelter, services, and transitional housing to Rapid Re-Housing vouchers and Homelessness Diversion programs, it should be demonstrated that these approaches lead to improved short-term and long-term outcomes in Seattle’s housing market and for each specific demographic population that would find their access to shelter, services, and transitional housing diminished through the shift toward Rapid Re-Housing and Homelessness Diversion. HSD should require the measurement of successful (still housed one year and two years after assistance ends) exits to permanent housing for persons of color as a programmatic evaluation element.
Step up support for low-income housing and community-driven projects
- We support the recommendations of Puget Sound Sage on the proposed AirBnB legislation, with the entire revenue going to the Equitable Development Initiative, so that community-driven projects such as the Ethiopian Community Center and the Filipino Community Center can come to fruition.
- We support additional funding for Community Land Trusts such as Homestead Community Land Trust. Specifically, we support Homestead’s budget request for $275,000 per year for feasibility studies, partner communities, and staff to support communities.
- New revenue is needed to bridge the enormous gap between the small amount of low-income housing that is in the works and what is needed. But we simply can’t keep raising property and sales taxes that further burden the very people who are struggling the most. Seattle’s economy is booming and our city and state have consistently been rated among the most business-friendly in the country. The City should require large businesses to contribute funding to help the city address the ongoing homelessness crisis, especially to fund the creation of deeply affordable housing. (The HOMES Plan proposed by Councilmembers O'Brien and Harris-Talley is a great start, although $24 million per year is not enough to meet the scale of the crisis.)
- Pass a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) to look into doing a Developer Impact Fee swap, like the REET swap, to allow impact fee revenue to be used for housing.
- Pass a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) to look into whether the City could effectively extent the MFTE (multi-family tax exemption) program for properties reaching their 12-year sunset by buying down the rent difference, so that Seattle doesn’t lose a bunch more reasonably affordable housing.
There are several budget proposals that do not directly support housing or homeless-centered initiatives, but are vital to the well-being of the homeless and potentially-homeless community. Housing For All supports these additional budget proposals:
- We support additional funding for the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program.
- We support safe consumption sites.
- We support a budget amendment to reallocate $11.6 million from the North police precinct “bunker”.
- We support living wages for support services staff.