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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
6/29/2004  10:15:00 AM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mike Fong, 206 684-8808

RASMUSSEN TO ASSESS CURRENT FUNDING FOR
KEY JOBS PROGRAMS
Committee Briefing Scheduled to Set Priorities for 2005

SEATTLE – Tuesday, June 29, 2004 – In preparation for allocating anticipated federal block grant dollars in 2005 and beyond, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has scheduled a briefing before the Council’s Housing, Human Services and Health Committee to review current efforts to assist low-income Seattle residents find living wage jobs.

“Helping people obtain the skills they need to find living-wage jobs in our community is a top priority,” said Rasmussen. “This committee will allocate nearly $15 million of Federal Community Development Block Grant dollars for 2005 and I want to make sure that our decision best reflects the community’s needs.”

The City is developing its 2005-2008 Consolidated Plan, which is the planning document used by cities, counties and states to identify and address housing, homeless, human and economic development needs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires any city jurisdiction seeking federal funds for programs to support these efforts to submit a consolidated plan. The consideration of this plan is currently underway in Rasmussen’s committee.

As part of the City’s evaluation of the broader community’s priorities for this federal funding, the Human Services Department sent more than 5,000 surveys to low-moderate income Seattle residents to find out what types of services are most needed. Helping people find employment was the number one priority out of ten categories for the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, according to 921 respondents who completed the survey (see Graphs). Yet the allocation of CDBG funds in Seattle in each of the last four years for job training and development ranks next to last (9th) among these same ten funding categories.

“Giving people the tools they need to become self-sufficient is one of the most effective ways we can direct our human services dollars,” said Rasmussen. “We must match the City’s limited financial resources with those programs that will give people an opportunity to achieve greater long-term social and economic stability.”

The Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) is the City of Seattle’s primary fund source for addressing the community development needs of Seattle’s low-and moderate-income people and neighborhoods. These funds can be used for a variety of programs such as job training, production of affordable housing, homeless services, helping small businesses and housing assistance for seniors and those with disabilities. Many of these programs also receive funding from other federal sources, the City’s General Fund and voter approved levies. Councilmember Rasmussen and the members of the Housing, Human Services and Health Committee will review and adopt a Consolidated Plan later this summer that will, among other federal requirements, outline specific programs and activities to be funded by CDBG dollars.

Tom Rasmussen is chair of the Council's Housing, Human Services and Health Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee and the Urban Development and Planning Committee. He also serves as a member of the King County Board of Health. Prior to his election, Rasmussen was Director of the Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and a former Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Yakima County.

WHO: Housing, Human Services and Health Committee and representatives from the Seattle Jobs Initiative and the Workforce Development Council

WHAT: Briefing on Workforce Development and Job Training Programs -- to outline the services currently being provided and highlight the areas that are in need of greater focus and support in order to help people find livable wage jobs in Seattle

WHERE: Seattle City Hall, in the Council Chambers located on the 2nd floor at 600 4th Avenue (entrance on 5th Avenue)

WHEN: Thursday, July 8th at 9:30 a.m.

WHY: Of the more than $50 million of CDBG funding the City of Seattle has received since 2001, only $637,000 has been dedicated to job training programs. Given the anticipated constraints on the general fund this year, Chairman Rasmussen and the committee will review whether the current level of CDBG investment in job training programs is adequate.

Cablecast live on Seattle Channel (21/28) and Webcast live at Council Live

To view the full result of the survey conducted by the Human Services Department and more information about the Consolidated Plan, please visit Consolidated Plan

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