Youth Voice, Youth Choice
Youth Voice, Youth Choice was the City of Seattle's first venture into the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. The initiative began in July 2015 when Mayor Ed Murray and former Councilmember Nick Licata announced the launch of a citywide PB process in which Seattle youth would democratically decide how to spend $700,000 of the City's budget.
The process started in January 2016 with several assemblies in which Seattle youth brainstormed ideas for projects they wanted to see in their communities. Twenty youth delegates, with help from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and other City staff, then turned those ideas into 19 concrete proposals. In May 2016, more than 3,000 youth ages 11-25 voted for their favorite projects.
The seven winning projects were:
- Safe Routes to Schools Project - $45,500
Improve crosswalks in areas near schools to create safer routes to school for students.
- Park Bathroom Upgrades Project - $205,000
Creating a map of public bathrooms in the city and implementing improvements at 1-2 bathrooms in parks in most need of repair.
- Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout - $165,000
A term-limited expansion of the Seattle Public Library's checkout system to include more Wi-Fi hotspots, which increase internet access.
- Homeless Children and Youth Liaison Services Project - $70,400
A term-limited expansion for school liaison services connecting youth experiencing homelessness to needed resources.
- Youth Homeless Shelter Improvements - $42,000
Physical improvements for a youth homeless shelter such as installing lockers, washer and dryers, and new paint.
- Job Readiness Workshops for Homeless Youth - $43,600
A term-limited expansion of existing services for youth experiencing homelessness focused on job readiness.
- Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness - $128,500
Youth collaborate with carpenters to build 10 tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness.