Youth Voice, Youth Choice Project Update

Last May, more than 3,000 Seattle youth voted to determine projects that they believed should be funded with $700,000 from the City budget.

That was May and here we are in November, so some of you might be wondering…what’s going on with all of these projects?  Are they happening yet?

The short answer is…kind of! They are all moving along, some faster than others.

Though we don’t yet have many specifics to share, we still want to make sure everyone has the most up-to-date information.

So, without further ado, below is the scoop on the City’s progress on each project:

 

Safe Routes to Schools Project – $45,500
Improve crosswalks in areas near schools to create safer routes to school for students.

Back in August, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installed a blue and orange checker board pattern painted curb bulb at S Henderson St and 53rd Ave S near the Rainier Beach High School.  We wrote about it in this blog article.

In 2017, SDOT will design and install speed humps on S Kenyon St/Way near Wing Luke Elementary School and a raised crosswalk at the intersection of 16th Ave SW & SW Myrtle St.

 

Park Bathroom Upgrades Project – $205,000
Creating a map of public bathrooms in the city and implementing improvements at 1-2 bathrooms in parks in most need of repair.

Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) will do a full-scale renovation of the Brighton Playfield comfort station in the Hillman City neighborhood of SE Seattle. Renovations will include: ADA Improvements, demolishing and replacing interior partitions, fixtures, accessories (toilets, urinals, sinks), painting the interior, tiling the walls, adding interior LED lighting, and more.

Also, in the New Holly neighborhood, Parks plans to make minor improvements to the Van Asselt Comfort Station including painting the interior, sealing the floor, and pressure-washing the interior of the building.

These projects will be completed by June 2017.

And what about that map?  Seattle Parks has begun work on the map, and will continue to improve it in the coming months.

 

Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout – $165,000
A term-limited expansion of the Seattle Public Library’s checkout system to include more Wi-Fi hotspots, which increase internet access.

Did you know that the library currently has 700 Wi-Fi Hotspots in circulation through their SPL HotSpot Program?  500 of these can be reserved, just as you would a book.  The other 200 hotspots are used for different programs in Seattle that address digital equity needs.

This program has been partially funded by a Google Grant that is set to expire in January 2017. This expiration would have caused a sharp decrease in service. However, this Youth Voice, Youth Choice funding will not only allow the Library to maintain its current service level, but expand it by 50 hotspots as well as hire a part-time staff member to ensure that devices are equitably distributed.

 

Homeless Children and Youth Liaison Services Project – $70,400
A term-limited expansion for school liaison services connecting youth experiencing homelessness to needed resources.

In 2017, through an agreement with the Seattle Human Services Department, the Seattle School District will expand services to an additional 40 unaccompanied homeless youth. Funds provided through this Agreement will be used for supports that move homeless students and families along the path to academic achievement and stable housing.

 

Youth Homeless Shelter Improvements – $42,000
Physical improvements for a youth homeless shelter such as installing lockers, washer and dryers, and new paint.

Beginning in January 2017, the Seattle Human Services Department will contract with organizations providing sheltering services to homeless youth.  Funding from the contracts will go towards creating permanent storage options and access to laundry facilities for the youth they serve.

 

Job Readiness Workshops for Homeless Youth – $43,600
A term-limited expansion of existing services for youth experiencing homelessness focused on job readiness.

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is putting the final touches on a Request for Proposals (RFP) for this project.   We will be releasing details within the week and the deadline for organizations to submit proposals will be December 21.

The City seeks to fund an organization that has a proven history and success in working with young people who are unstably housed, offers existing job-readiness resources, and is looking to expand the breadth of their current service provisions or innovate the way their organization has traditionally approached job readiness training for homeless youth. The goal of this project is to improve the quality of life and financial independence for young people experiencing homelessness by increasing their ability to acquire and retain permanent employment.

 

Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness – $128,500
Youth collaborate with carpenters to build 10 tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness.

As you might remember, this project received the most votes.  Given the ongoing complexities of addressing the housing needs of Seattle’s unsheltered residents, it has also proven a bit challenging to get off the ground.

However, we are happy to report that we will begin working on this project with the newly established Homeless Strategy and Investment Division of the Human Services Department in January 2017. We will keep you posted on our progress.