Council to Vote on Dedicating $2.3M to Combat Homeless Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/16/2015

SEATTLE – Council’s Budget Committee chair Nick Licata issued the following statement in advance of today’s 10:00 a.m. meeting, during which time the 9-member Committee will consider amending the proposed 2016 budget Mayor Murray delivered on September 28:

“Homelessness in Seattle is at a crisis level. The Council and Mayor agree we have an emergency. I believe additional financial investment to address the homelessness emergency is needed. Later this morning, Council will vote to add $2.3 million in one-time funding for new and expanded shelter beds to get people off the street, extend day center services and outreach services to vulnerable homeless adults, support authorized encampments, and child care for homeless children. This is in addition to the $5 million in one-time funds approved earlier this month.

“In an effort to meet the demands of the people we were elected to represent, we must both balance the budget and address the urgent and persistent needs of the homeless in our city. As a result of a positive update to the economic revenue forecast, which we recently received, and good work by Council Central Staff who found productive ways to use restricted funds, we are able to avoid diverting funds from the City’s ‘Rainy Day Fund’.”

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Councilmember Licata Announces Council Budget Review Process

Councilmember Licata Announces Council Budget Review Process

SEATTLESeattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Council’s Budget Committee, today announced this autumn’s City Council budget review process. The announcement follows delivery of Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-2016 operating budget earlier today.

“I look forward to examining the Mayor’s proposed budget, keeping in mind the highest priorities the Council expressed in a letter to the Mayor in early August: human services, public safety and transportation. Those priorities were informed by a series of community meetings I hosted earlier this year.”

Public input is vital to Council review and helps Councilmembers develop a budget that best reflects the needs of the City.  The Council will hold two public hearings, on October 7 at Garfield Community Center, and October 23 at Seattle City Hall. Both begin at 5:30 p.m.

The schedule for Council consideration of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget is as follows:

October 2              Overview of Mayor’s Proposed Budget

October 7-10:         Department budget overviews

October 20-24        Issue Identification

October 30-Nov. 6  Presentation/Discussion of Options (Round 1)

November 12-14     Final Decisions and Votes (Round 2)

November 24          Full Council adopts 2015 budget, endorses 2016 budget

The Council’s budget website has additional information, including a glossary of budget terms and links to supporting documents, as they become available.  All budget documents will also be publically accessible on the updated City Clerk’s online budget database.

Councilmember Licata recorded this video that explains the Council’s budget process and timeline.

The public is welcome to attend meetings, and can watch live on the Seattle Channel at http://www.seattle.gov/councillive.  Comments on the budget can also be submitted online to nick.licata@seattle.gov.

 

Budget Public Hearings

Tuesday, October 7

5:30 p.m.

Garfield Community Center

2323 E Cherry St.

Seattle, WA  98122

 

Thursday, October 23

5:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers

600 4th Avenue, 2nd floor

Seattle, WA  98104

Licata Calls on Feds to Intercede on Seattle Housing Authority Rent Proposal

Licata Calls on Feds to Intercede on Seattle Housing Authority Rent Proposal

Councilmember concerned proposal to raise rent may put affordable housing programs out of reach

SEATTLECouncilmember Nick Licata sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) yesterday, requesting that the department adopt new emergency administrative rules for Public Housing Authorities, including Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), when trying to implement a flat rent policy based on unit size rather than the current policy of setting rent based upon income.

The letter also requests that HUD require SHA to conduct a fair housing assessment to determine the potentially discriminatory impact of its proposed “Stepping Forward” program. SHA has not conducted such an assessment.

“People should certainly strive to increase their incomes, but when they can’t, homelessness shouldn’t be the consequence,” said Councilmember Nick Licata.

SHA’s “Stepping Forward” program would affect “work-able” tenants who live in SHA-owned housing as well as “work-able” tenants who live in private or non-profit housing but pay a reduced rent because they participate in an SHA program. Families working fulltime will be forced to leave the program if they cannot increase their income. SHA predicts that families will eventually need to earn $16 an hour in year 6 of the plan and $22-$26 per hour in subsequent years to afford rent at SHA.

On Monday, September 22, at 9:30 am, SHA will be coming to the City Council to answer Councilmembers’ questions about the proposal. Jonathan Grant of the Tenants Union will also be on hand to talk about the work they are doing with residents of SHA housing and tenants who participate in SHA programs. The public is encouraged to attend or watch live via Seattle Channel at http://www.seattle.gov/councillive

Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Announced

Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Announced

 SEATTLE The City Council’s Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency approved a resolution today calling for the development of a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda for Seattle. The Agenda will create a comprehensive housing plan for Seattle by identifying housing needs over the next ten years and recommending new policies or programs to meet any gaps.

“We have to intentionally plan to achieve housing affordability for a diverse mix of incomes and families in our city,” said Councilmember Sally J. Clark, the legislation’s sponsor and chair of the committee.  “For the first time, we’ll have a comprehensive catch-all plan for how we’d like to see housing serve the entire spectrum of people in Seattle.”

The Agenda will be developed in the City’s Office of Housing and Office for Policy and Innovation, aided by a stakeholder advisory group.  Staff will utilize recent council reports and research, best practices from cities around the nation and conduct a thorough review of existing policies and programs from across City departments. The plan is expected to be presented back to the Mayor and City Council by the end of May, 2015 for further community engagement, review and adoption.

“We need more housing options so that people who work in this city can afford to live in this city,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “I believe this plan will help us get in front of the growing pressure on affordability and help us provide more opportunities to live in Seattle for more people.”

Seattle currently faces many challenges relating to housing affordability and access.  Currently, 43% of Seattle renter households are burdened by housing costs and 21% are severely burdened, which means more than one- half of household income goes toward rent.  Preliminary data also suggests Seattle will have a growing gap in family-sized housing.  According to a recent study, enrollment in Seattle Public Schools’ kindergartens began increasing rapidly in the last decade. Enrollment is projected to be nearly 60,000 by the year 2020.

“Preserving affordable housing is particularly important in this housing climate when subsidized housing like the Theodora is being converted to market rate housing, not to mention the cycle of demolition, redevelopment and increased rent in market rate rentals, and finally the likely future upswing in condo conversions,” said Councilmember Nick Licata.

“Working together as a city, we can seize our destiny as a city that increases affordable housing across the economic spectrum – for homeless housing to workforce housing,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “By hearing from renters and homeowners, and representatives from the financial sector, for-profit developers, non-profit developers, and other local housing experts, we can develop a housing agenda that will make a powerful and lasting impact on the current and future affordability of our city.”

The resolution was developed collaboratively with community members, Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Sally J. Clark, Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Councilmember Nick Licata.  Full Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution on Monday, September 22.

Councilmember Nick Licata Statement in Support of Minimum Wage Ordinance


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/2/2014

Councilmember Nick Licata  

Councilmember Nick Licata Statement in Support of Minimum Wage Ordinance

Final Speech As Delivered

SEATTLE – Councilmember Nick Licata delivered the following speech today in support of the Council’s adoption of a $15 per hour minimum wage:

Mario Savio once said, as he was being dragged away by the police for setting up a card table on a campus without a permit to provide civil rights pamphlets. "There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious-makes you so sick at heart-that you can’t take part. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working."

Savio said that 50 years ago, but it’s true today as well. That’s how the fast food workers acted exactly one year ago in Seattle when they walked off their jobs to be free from their exploitation. And that is a powerful word, filled with personal accusation. But it is not personal, it is a simple condition that has accompanied the growth of our market economy since the 1980’s. The consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, has dramatically transformed the dynamics of this democracy.

Our citizens, and I’m not talking about legal status here, I’m talking about the basic relationship of people to their government, have seen – not only their wealth diminish but their political power as well. And with the decline of their influence over their government they have seen their wages stagnate while corporate profits have piled up ever higher. In fact, the three largest employers of low-wage workers have all seen large profit increases in the last few years and are all more profitable than they were before the Great Recession.

The legislation we pass today is just one small step to strike a fair and sustainable path toward our city’s and our nation’s prosperity. To those who have said that the sky will fall, I assure them – the sun will continue to rise. Except when there is daylight, we will see fewer people living hand to mouth.

And there is’ much more to be done! But I can think of no other city with better political and community leadership to passionately and pragmatically continue to close the income and wealth gap. And in doing so, Seattle will show what a true world class city is: A city where all the classes live in the same world – where they receive fair and livable compensation for an honest days’ work.

We have much to be proud of. We should celebrate; we should all celebrate, because we have made the world a little better for all of us, owners and workers alike. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to get us to today’s victory, a victory that will be heard around this nation.

We are here today thanks, first and foremost, to the fast food workers who walked off their jobs a year ago in Seattle and even before that across the nation. They risked their jobs to tum this nation around. To tum it from placing investor returns above the basic needs of our citizens.

However, to date, not one city has adopted $15 an hour – except Seattle. Others must follow. But it is not easy path to go down. As witnessed by how few are on it. It is also true, that the profits of the largest businesses have soared while worker wages have stagnated. In 1965, CEOs made 20.1 times the pay of the average worker. By 2012, that ratio was more than 10 times larger: CEOs made 273 times the pay of the average worker in 2012. As a result families are living on wages that are barely above the poverty level.

These are facts. And there are other facts – which we must face up to. We do not have magic wand. But we do have leaders. I have stood with the democratically elected leaders of over 10,000 organized Seattle laborers – in supporting the plan before us. I stood with them, because they struggled hard for every word in that agreement. They wanted much more. As did I; and as do many of you. I will continue to stand with them. I acknowledge their hard work. And I will work to duplicate their victory, in cities across the nation. And as such, I will not break ranks with them and I will continue to support what they have agreed to – in the plan as it is before us, neither water downed and nor altered.

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