Making progress: 2012 Seattle City Budget
The Seattle City Council, in November 2011, passed a budget for the next year that provides additional funding for critical housing services associated with homelessness. Highlights of the City’s 2012 budget can be found here.
The new budget includes five important funding allocations that will provide necessary services to homeless individuals and families in need, including:
- $150,000 to expand the Rapid Re-Housing Program that provides financial assistance to place families into rental housing.
The Rapid Re-Housing Program places homeless individuals or families who are currently homeless into housing, and covers rental and utility costs as well as costs of case management services. By allocating an additional $150,000, it is estimated that approximately 17 additional families can be serviced by the program. The Human Services Department will be responsible for allocating the additional money to providers who operate the program.
As of March 2011, there were 160 assisted households, and most families and individuals received an average $6,000 to $7,000 in assistance. People are eligible for the program for up to twelve months.
- $150,000 to expand shelter and transitional housing services for homeless families.
The additional $150,000 approved by the Council and Mayor will go to serving at least 13 additional families in 2012. The Shelter and Transitional Housing program places families who are already homeless into shelter or housing, and service providers have reported increasing demand for assistance.
- $75,000 to create an Opportunity Fund for religious institutions to help finance capital improvements in order to serve the homeless.
This opportunity fund would go to providing one-time capital funding to faith-based organizations needing to do facility improvements in order to provide shelter or serve the homeless. The City Council will receive a report by September 2012 on the fund and its use.
- $40,000 to expand the Emergency Services Program for homeless families to provide emergency hotel or motel vouchers and case management services.
Doubling financial support to the Emergency Services Program, which was previously budgeted at $41,000, would allow at least 17 homeless families to be helped by the program. The program saw increased demand in 2011 and will expend all its resources by the end of the year. The budget also says that the Human Services Department will “look at program structure … to maximize effectiveness and efficiency in serving the City’s homeless families.”
- $20,000 to fund case management services and operational costs in support of a Safe Parking Pilot Program.
The Seattle City Council allocated an additional $20,000 to help cover costs at the Safe Parking Pilot Program, which would allow homeless individuals to stay in their car on safe property. A church in Ballard has already agreed to host one-to-five homeless individuals on their property, and the budget allocation will go to supporting their program.
In all, the Seattle City Council budgeted $435,000 of the original $790,000 the Mayor had originally proposed to developing a semi-permanent homeless encampment at the Sunny Jim site. The remainder of the money will be used to repair roofs on six city-owned facilities, although the Council is asking more research be done prior to money being spent.
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