Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
RASMUSSEN RELEASES FINDINGS FROM COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROCESS WITH IMMIGRANT/REFUGEE COMMUNITIES
Information is key to developing the City’s Action Plan
SEATTLE – Today, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen released the first findings from his initiative to build better links between City government and the immigrant and refugee communities of Seattle. “Over seventeen percent of Seattleites were born in another country,” said Councilmember Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s Housing, Human Services, and Health Committee. “City government must be open and accessible to everyone. If there are cultural or language barriers, we must work hard to overcome them. ”
In May 2005, Councilmember Rasmussen held a forum attended by more than 250 people on the issues facing Seattle’s immigrant and refugee community. After hearing many concerns and recommendations, Councilmember Rasmussen persuaded the Mayor and the Council to develop an action plan for how City government can better serve immigrant and refugee communities. The first step was a community engagement process carried out by the City’s Human Services Department. “I want to thank the department for their fine work,” said Councilmember Rasmussen. “It is gratifying to see the Mayor and the Council working together for this common goal.” The community engagement process included interviews with 260 people—general members of the community, service providers, and community leaders. The results will be translated into seven languages and posted on Rasmussen’s and Mayor Greg Nickels’ websites.
Some of the key findings were: Language and cultural barriers limit access to services and civic participation; Strengthened coordination around immigrant and refugee issues can enhance access. “These findings will enable us to craft an effective action plan,” said Councilmember Rasmussen. “At the end of this process, we intend to provide better city services to Seattle’s immigrants and refugee communities.”