A promise made at the height of Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests last year, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s pledge of $100 million in spending to address inequity in the city is moving forward with new recommendations and a new call for proposals for $30 million in land and property acquisitions to help address displacement in the city.
The pledge made last year as Durkan attempted to address unrest and demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd is a complicated, four-part mix including new programs and counting previously existing initiatives toward her $100 million total.
“We face many challenges in recovery ahead, but as we continue to build back better, hope is on the horizon for communities across the City,” Durkan said in an announcement on recent progress on the $100 million goal.
Durkan’s 4-part $100M pledge:
1) The first part, participatory budgeting, could end up the the strongest new investment in the mix, putting a $30 million package of spending beneath the Office of Civil Rights to shape a community driven social and service plan.
2) But the mayor’s office has another $30 million component of the pledge being shaped by her 26-member Equitable Communities Initiative task force that could put real spending plans forward sooner. The task force, the second big component of the $100 million pledge, last week delivered a key recommendation set that the mayor’s office says will shape a new ordinance. The City Council will then shape the final legislation.
ECI task force recommendations:
- Building Opportunity through Small Business Support – to provide business development and technical assistance. Developing Diverse and Culturally
- Competent Educators and Education Opportunities – to provide cultural education for BIPOC youth, programs for the formerly incarcerated, and establish an equity education innovation fund.
- Accessing Affordable Housing, Land Acquisition and Generational Wealth – to establish a lease to purchase homebuyer program, an apprenticeship pipeline program, and support generational wealth.
- Increasing Positive Health Outcomes – increase food access and environmental justice, foster culturally responsive and inclusive healthcare, and enhance/ improve workforce development of healthcare providers of color.
3) The third $30 million component is the restored Strategic Investment Fund spending package for land and property acquisition “to respond to disproportionate displacement pressures impacting Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.” The Durkan administration had previously cut the fund before it was restored by the council.
The city has now put out its call for proposals for the program with a maximum of $5 million per award. The fund will support site acquisition projects including “affordable housing, affordable commercial spaces, public open spaces, cultural spaces, and childcare facilities.”
“Sites must be in neighborhoods with high displacement risk and near existing or planned transit and parks investments,” the announcement reads.
4) The final $10 million chunk of the $100 million pledge will be focused on public safety, Durkan’s office says.
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