Learn How to Become an Effective Community Leader and Engage with Your Local Government

Do you want to make a difference in your community? Are you looking for ways to get involved and make your voice heard? Then, register for the winter quarter of our People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE).

PACE is a civic leadership development program dedicated to cultivating the next wave of community leaders. The program builds a pipeline of new leaders in the community through a series of courses and seminars – with classes teaching hands-on skills ranging from community engagement to navigating City government. The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is now accepting applications for PACE’s winter quarter, which begins January 28 and runs through March 4.

During the five-week program, 25-30 emerging community leaders (18 years and up) will get an introduction to the structure and fundamentals of City government, with a strong focus on how communities and local government can work together. Participants of PACE get a chance to build relationships with key City staff, City Councilmembers, and expert community facilitators.

Winter classes will be held on five Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Yesler Community Center. Topics include: Accessing City Government, City Budget 101, Land Use in Seattle, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Public Speaking, Skillful Engagement in Conflict, and more.

Tuition for the five-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available to those who qualify. The application and details for the winter session are here or you can visit seattle.gov/PACE. The deadline to apply is Monday, January 9 by 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE is offered three times a year: winter, spring, and fall. The Spring quarter will begin in late April of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

Mayor Murray Signs 2017-2018 Budget: Exciting Changes for Department of Neighborhoods

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods:

Yesterday Mayor Murray signed the 2017-18 City Budget that was adopted November 21, 2016 by Seattle City Council. The budget includes several additions and changes to the work of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON), and I’m pleased to share them with you.

The department’s work has become much more important in the last year; and we see this work continuing and expanding as more issues come our way. We know everyone has a voice, and it is our job to hear them. The Mayor reminded us about the need for DON and the City Council has confirmed it.

When Mayor Murray issued the Executive Order in July mandating the City to approach outreach and engagement in a more equitable manner, it set the stage for this department to lead the City’s outreach and engagement practices. And through the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, he introduced legislation that outlined a new citywide framework for community engagement and redefined the role of DON in this work. This new legislation, Resolution 31718 and Council Bill 118834, does the following:

  • Advances a citywide approach to outreach and engagement that prioritizes equity and recognizes barriers to participation.
  • Demonstrates the City’s commitment to implementing equitable and inclusive community involvement strategies across all City Departments.
  • Directs City departments to develop well designed, responsive, and culturally relevant public involvement plans.
  • Creates a Community Involvement Commission to advise on City plans, policies, strategies, and community grant funding processes and make recommendations that advance equitable public engagement and civic participation.
  • Redefines the purpose of DON and the functions of the Director.


It is now up to DON to lead this work.
Going forward, you can depend on us to:

  • Focus on more access and more opportunity. We will broaden our reach and work with many groups knowing that no one speaks for all.
  • Implement a broad range of new initiatives and tools to encourage greater and more diverse participation. Read our workplan to learn more.
  • Work with city departments to ensure their outreach and engagement work is equitable and transparent through consultation and collaboration.

 

How are we going to do this? Here are DON’s budget highlights that will support this work:

POSITIONS

  • Two staff members to continue their work in outreach and engagement oversight and city-wide coordination.
  • Two positions to focus on improving the City’s outreach and engagement to neighborhoods during impactful construction projects.
  • Two positions to provide additional capacity to the POEL (Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison) program with a focus on low-income transit options.
  • One position to broaden the participatory budgeting approach to new audiences.
  • One position to analyze the outcomes of DON’s programs and identify strategies and opportunities for improvements.
  • One part-time position dedicated to Historic Preservation process improvements.
  • One position dedicated to administer grants and contracts.
  • One Accounting Technician position to serve the Department of Education and Early Learning.


FUNDING

  • Funds to develop resources and tools to support all community organizations. These would include workshops, online trainings, and a one-stop shop for resources.
  • Funds to develop a fellowship program to support community-based organizations that provide leadership development opportunities and capacity-building.
  • Funds to develop and implement community satisfaction surveys to gain residents’ opinions on city services and priorities for improvement.
  • Funds to support outreach efforts for the Housing Affordability Livability Agenda, including funds to review the city’s historic preservation program review process.

 

 

Several of you had questions about our Neighborhood District Coordinators. We continue working with them and their labor representatives to evolve their job descriptions to meet our new goals. Please know that there will be staff designated to assist community groups, both community-based and geography-based.

The DON staff is excited to implement this work. It gives us and the City an opportunity to rethink and reimagine how we interact with one another. Over the coming months, you will be introduced to the many tools, processes, and initiatives that DON will be leading, supporting, and implementing. Make sure to visit our Engage Seattle webpage to learn more.

Outreach and engagement is the core of what we do. Equity, transparency and “meeting people where they are” are our guiding principles. Our work is about fostering community partnerships, cultivating emerging leadership, and facilitating community inclusiveness. We are a department known for many programs; but we are about people, first and foremost. We are thankful that this adopted budget supports the good work we do and our mission of “strengthening Seattle by engaging all communities.”

Share Your Thoughts on Housing Affordability Proposals

Housing affordability continues to be on many people’s minds as we see headline after headline about rising home prices, rising rents, and an increase in our homeless population.  While we see many things in our community changing, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to each other and to rolling up our sleeves and solving these big issues.

That is why in August of this year we voted overwhelmingly to renew the Seattle Housing Levy.  Sustaining programs that provide home ownership opportunities and creating more housing for those most in need is a top priority.  What we also know is that the Seattle Housing Levy, while a great tool, cannot do all that is needed to address the growing need for more affordable housing.

We have been hard at work passing tenant protections, removing barriers to housing for vulnerable populations, and working in coalitions in Olympia to change state law and provide more funding.  You can check all that out at Seattle.gov/HALA.

What we want to talk about today is our Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, which we have spent much of the year drafting for City Council’s review and passage.  This new program will, for the first time in our City’s history, require new development in Seattle’s most dense areas to contribute to affordable housing.  This contribution is based on the City providing more capacity (allowing buildings to be taller or wider) in exchange for a developer to either build new affordable units or pay a fee to the Office of Housing (the same stewards of our Housing Levy dollars).

We are about halfway through the process of putting this program to work.  We recently passed legislation that allows this program to exist in any area of the city where we make zoning changes.  The next step is to actually make the zoning changes, and the City recently released a set of proposed zoning maps that targets these changes in our most dense areas of the city. These mapped proposals have been shaped by a nearly year-long community engagement process in which residents were asked how they would like to see their neighborhoods change. From that process, we developed a set of principles to guide the design of zoning changes.

We understand that zoning is one of the more complex tools used to harness the growth in Seattle, so we created this video to help guide you through using the maps.

Review the proposed zoning maps and tell us what’s working and what isn’t.

Your feedback will help the City find appropriate ways to increase the amount of both affordable AND market rate housing in our growth areas.

 


 

Want to dig deeper? Here are a few more resources to help you make sense of affordable housing:

Mayor Murray Announces $501,415 in Matching Fund Awards for Community-Based Projects

Yoni Ki Baat from Tasveer’s 11th Aaina: South Asian Women’s Focus Festival (2015 NMF funded project)

Mayor Ed Murray announced an investment of $501,415 in matching funds to support 24 neighborhood-initiated projects across the City. The awards are part of the City’s Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF), which provides more than $3 million each year to local organizations.

The awards are part of the Small and Simple Projects Fund, one of three funds offered by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. It provides cash awards of up to $25,000 in matching funds to community organizations committed to fostering and building a better community. The organizations that have recently received grants pledge to match the City of Seattle’s $501,415 investment with $537,295 of locally raised money, donated materials, and volunteer labor.

“Since 1988, the Neighborhood Matching Fund has supported thousands of projects driven by neighborhoods across the city. All of us benefit from the creativity and dedication of community volunteers who make their ideas a reality with the help of the Fund.” – Mayor Ed Murray

For 28 years, more than 5,000 projects have been funded in partnership with the NMF Program, and its investment in neighborhoods can be seen across the city. For more information about NMF, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/. In early December, the website will provide information on the 2017 funding opportunities and deadlines.

 

2016 SMALL AND SIMPLE PROJECTS FUND OCTOBER AWARDS

Citywide

  • $25,000 to Friends of the Ballard Civic Orchestra to organize a free classical concert series and workshops reflecting the theme of building community through music. The series will celebrate Latino and Hispanic cultural heritage. (Community match: $18,360)
  • $25,000 to World Kulturz dba Native Kulturz Group to organize a series of dance workshops and performances that interweave the Contra, Metis jig, Native Powwow and Coastal dance communities. (Community match: $26,450)
  • $25,000 to The Art of Alzheimer’s to organize a series of arts-focused activities and workshops to raise awareness and reduce stigmas about people and families living with dementia. (Community match: $37,620)
  • $25,000 to Casa Latina to engage the community in a series of conversations to help determine how Casa Latina can best continue to serve Latino immigrants. (Community match: $17,790)
  • $14,000 to La Sala to create a community engagement and social change art project about women as commodity in our culture. The project will have free hands on workshops, five public community engagement art events, and a gallery exhibition opening in April 2017. (Community match: $15,340)
  • $20,000 to International Women’s Day – 2017 to host a free event to celebrate International Women’s Day. Through story-telling, facilitated conversations, collaborative art, and dance, participants will know they are part of a caring and vibrant community of women. (Community match: $12,345)
  • $25,000 to Columbia City Theater Group to produce a play, film festival, graphic-novel adaptation, and accompanying resources for and with youth. These activities will engage youth in social justice through storytelling and the exploration of race, socioeconomics, education, and the arts. (Community match: $43,575)
  • $25,000 Sundiata African American Cultural Association to hold a free, two-day festival next February to celebrate Black History month. The family-friendly event will have food, vendors, art, and music, as well as presentations on the contributions of African Americans in the United States. (Community match: $31,640)
  • $25,000 to Amigos De Seattle to organize a series of family-oriented workshops about Guatemalan culture, history, and peoples. They will feature folkloric performances and cultural exchange to unite the Guatemalan community as well as people interested in experiencing Guatemalan cultural expression. (Community match: $15,900)

 

District 1

  • $25,000 to South Park Area Redevelopment Committee (SPARC) to prepare construction documents and permits for Duwamish Waterway Park improvements. SPARC will continue to work with the consultant to facilitate a community engagement and design process. (Community match: $25,995)
  • $4,000 to Fauntleroy Centennial Committee to host a free community event, A Century of Serving the Community, at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Activities include a display of archives, erection of a new flagpole, and a mini carnival. (Community match: $3,000)
  • $25,000 to Van Lang to host a six-month series of free language workshops open to youth and adults for both Vietnamese and English as a second language. In addition to language instruction, there will be cross cultural opportunities to learn about Vietnamese culture. (Community match: $37,280)
  • $25,000 to Delridge Grocery Cooperative to develop the planning and feasibility of opening and sustaining a grocery coop in Delridge. It will also study the viability of the business plan. (Community match: $16,170)

 

District 2

  • $14,500 to Hillman City P-Patch to reclaim the accessible gravel paths and develop an accessible gardening area. It includes an update to the 2010 visioning plan and the initiation of a monthly series of events designed to engage the gardeners, neighbors, and partner organizations. (Community match: $14,245)
  • $24,415 to Somali Family Safety Task Force to host workshops to enhance bonding between Somali teens and their mothers to strengthen relationships and foster community building in a supportive environment. Attendees will participate in workshops designed to explore relationships, facilitate communication, skill building, and peer mentoring. (Community match: $18,910)
  • $13,000 to Beacon Hill Hub to develop outreach and community planning to get input to guide final programming and design of the Beacon Hill Hub building. Four charrettes will obtain input on a multiservice venue to be a unique presence for people of color in South Beacon Hill. (Community match: $43,235)

 

District 3

  • $25,000 to Friends of Safe Access: Street to Park to create a conceptual plan for a safe and accessible west entry to Mt. Baker Park. A design firm will work with the community in preparing conceptual drawings for the replacement of the steep path that currently exists. (Community match: $12,500)
  • $25,000 to First Hill Improvement Association to continue the work of leading the community through final design and construction documentation for improvements to First Hill Park. This phase will build off of the approved Phase 1 concept plan. (Community match: $15,350)
  • $15,000 to Seattle Poetry Slam to host an all-ages, three-day celebration of LGBTQ arts and community. The Queer Resurgence on Capitol Hill Poetry Festival will include panel discussions, workshops, and a poetry slam competition. (Community match: $7,200)

 

District 4

  • $7,000 to U District Advocates to activate a heavily-used alley located at 1414 NE 42nd St to make it safer, cleaner, and more inviting for a diverse community of neighbors and visitors. (Community match: $7,220)
  • $25,000 to Sanctuary Art Center to build community through the transformation of the utility boxes in the University District from ordinary obstructions into community assets that contribute to both placemaking and wayfinding. (Community match: $24,480)

 

District 5

  • $14,500 to 45th Ave NE Neighborhood Safety Taskforce to lead a visioning process with the community. The project will solicit input from neighborhood stakeholders about how best to address traffic and pedestrian safety concerns on 45th Ave NE, a major pedestrian and bike route serving three schools. (Community match: $8,000)

 

District 6

  • $25,000 to BF Day PTSA to replace aging circa-1989 school playground equipment with a new play area geared towards preschoolers and younger elementary students (K-2 grades) and neighborhood children. (Community match: $52,950)

 

District 7

  • $25,000 to Freeway Park Association to engage the community in a conversation about how connectivity, visibility, and public safety at Freeway Park can be improved. Three meetings will be held for area residents and park stakeholders that will result in conceptual design recommendations for future use. (Community match: $31,740)

Tell the City What You Think at Our New One-Stop Shop for Public Input Opportunities

For the past 3 months, we’ve been reaching out to Seattle residents through our Engage Seattle survey and campaign to get feedback on how the City can more effectively and equitably manage our outreach and engagement efforts.

During this process, we’ve heard one thing loud and clear: people want City information to be more centralized and more easily accessible.

We hear you and we are already taking steps to make this a reality!

For us, one of the most important first steps was to make it easier for residents to track and respond to public input requests from the City. The City of Seattle seeks public input in a variety of ways: through public meetings, surveys, direct outreach, online conversations, and more. What was clear is that we needed to create an online hub where we could bundle and house all of these active feedback opportunities.

This past August we did just that. We launched our Add Your Voice webpage, which serves as a one-stop shop for City of Seattle projects and topics currently open to public input. There you will find input opportunities organized by topic with clear timelines and links for more information.

We invite you to visit the site, explore the available opportunities for public feedback, and Add Your Voice!

We will continue to fine tune and improve this site as we move forward with our equitable outreach and engagement strategies. If you have ideas for improvement, please let us know by adding a comment to this post.