by Elizabeth Turnbull
With the end of Donald Trump’s administration and quick action by the Biden administration to issue executive orders on immigration, city officials from across the U.S., including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, are pushing for a path to citizenship status and greater rights for immigrants.
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Cities for Action, a coalition of roughly 200 mayors and county executives, including Durkan, released a letter urging the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to ensure a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants and to change detention practices to keep families together, among many other reforms.
Continue reading With Trump Out of White House, Seattle and other Cities Push for New Immigration Policies
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Andrew Grant Houston, AIA, Founder and Design Head of House Cosmopolitan and Board Member of Futurewise, officially announced his run for Mayor on Jan. 12, and he is clear about the cornerstone of his campaign: housing. The queer, Black, and Latino architect and small business owner has a vision for meeting the demand for affordable housing in Seattle, and is eager to share just how housing is directly linked to climate justice and defunding the police by 50%. Houston serves as Interim Policy Manager for Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and is a member of AIA Seattle, Share The Cities, The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, The Sunrise Movement, and the 43rd Democrats. He plans on contributing a portion of the campaign funds he receives to mutual aid groups he has worked with over the last year.
Houston, also known as “Ace,” recently spoke with the Emerald, telling us about his background, and the immediate actions Seattle needs to take in the next eight years to curb climate change. Check out his website at agh4sea.com.
Continue reading Q&A: Mayoral Candidate Andrew Grant Houston Shares His Vision for Seattle, Starting With Housing and Climate Justice
by Ashley Archibald
In a video posted to YouTube, a woman in a blue surgical mask stands in the corner of a walled-off yard, a puffy, slate gray jacket zipped against the cold. To her right is a table draped with a white cloth holding 19 votive candle holders. Slowly, deliberately, the woman reads a list of names.
In the silence following each name, a man lights a candle.
Continue reading A Hard Year for Those Without Shelter: Death Rates Rose and Pressures Increased for the Homeless During the Pandemic
by Carolyn Bick
Seattle’s older adults living in supportive housing will be the next in line for vaccinations against the novel coronavirus offered by the City’s mobile vaccine clinics, the Office of the Mayor announced in a press release on Jan. 22. This newest mobile vaccination effort began on Jan. 21 and includes older adults who had formerly experienced homelessness and who now receive wraparound case management services, as well as older, low-income adults living in affordable housing.
Continue reading Seattle Set to Vaccinate Older, Vulnerable Adults in Supportive Housing in Next Round of Mobile Vaccination Effort
by Sandra LeDuc
More Seattle families will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to an expansion of the City of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program. The city has just added $1.3 million for the program in the newly approved 2021 city budget, making it possible to enroll 3,100 people currently on the Fresh Bucks waitlist to begin receiving vouchers in December and continuing through 2021.
Fresh Bucks customers receive $40 in monthly benefits to purchase fruits and vegetables from participating Seattle farmers markets, neighborhood grocers, and Seattle Safeway stores. With the program’s expansion, there are 12,100 Seattle households served, in addition to the city’s emergency grocery voucher program that has supported 14,000 households.
Continue reading 3,100 More Seattle Households to Receive Monthly ‘Fresh Bucks’ Fruit and Vegetable Benefit
by Elizabeth Turnbull
As the days grow increasingly colder and winter rains are set to wash away the leaf-covered sidewalks, stores and businesses are preparing for a unique year of holiday shopping amid the pandemic. While many corporations have turned to e-commerce, small businesses are left to fight for visibility.
In an effort to support local businesses through the pandemic and the holiday season, the City of Seattle and various partners launched the “Shop Your Block” retail map last month to make it easier to locate small businesses and shops owned by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
The map, which lets users search for retailers in their area or via address and neighborhood, is a part of a larger campaign, created through a partnership between the City, Comcast, small businesses, and business district organizations, to help small business owners, who have been particularly affected by the economic repercussions of the pandemic.
Continue reading City Map and Resources Provide Easy Ways to Holiday Shop at Local Businesses
by Paul Kiefer
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Monday, Federal District Court Judge Richard Jones found the City of Seattle in contempt of an injunction he issued in June forbidding the Seattle Police Department (SPD) from using force against peaceful protesters. According to Durkan spokesperson Kelsey Nyland, the ruling is the first contempt finding against the City in recent memory; within the next week, the court will begin considering possible penalties.
Continue reading Federal District Court Judge Finds Seattle in Contempt of Crowd Control Injunction
by Carolyn Bick
Though officials say this year’s expanded flu vaccination clinic offerings are specifically meant to serve uninsured and underinsured communities of color and people experiencing homelessness, many of whom live in South Seattle, most of the clinics available in South Seattle appear to have relatively few open clinic slots.
Continue reading City Touts Free Vaccination Sites for Uninsured in South Seattle, but Limited Dates Available
by Paul Kiefer
(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Friday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office released a new report from the City’s Budget Office and the Seattle Police Department showing a record-breaking number of officer separations from SPD in September. In that month alone, 39 officers and officers in training left the department — double the number of officers leaving in the next-highest month on record. Without an end to the ongoing hiring freeze (a part of the City’s COVID-related austerity), SPD and the Budget Office project the department to continue hemorrhaging sworn staff well into 2021, potentially exceeding the staffing cuts proposed by the City Council during the summer.
The pending staff shortage places the department at risk of falling further out of compliance with the conditions of the Federal consent decree, increasing the likelihood that SPD will remain under the supervision of the Department of Justice for years to come. (Federal District Court Judge James Robart, responsible for overseeing Seattle’s consent decree for the Department of Justice, already ruled the City partially out of compliance in 2019).
Continue reading Seattle Police Department Announces Record-Breaking Attrition
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Oct. 15, applications opened for the City of Seattle’s COVID-19 disaster relief fund for immigrants, which includes $9 million to help residents who have immigrated to the U.S. and are impacted by COVID-19 — many of whom have struggled to receive federal aid.
Of the funds, $7.94 million will provide direct cash assistance to low-income individuals who have immigrated to the U.S. Eligible households and individuals will receive between $1,000 and $3,000 in funds, depending on income levels. In addition, parties who were not eligible for aid from the federal CARES Act coronavirus stimulus program will be prioritized.
“Undocumented immigrants pay into our local and state tax system. They’re a part of our economy and communities, yet are qualified for few benefits when they need it most,” City Council President Lorena González said in a recent statement on the fund. “This has to change, and the City of Seattle is stepping up to ensure we provide equitable safety nets and resources for our immigrant families and neighbors.”
Continue reading City of Seattle Launches New $9 Million Aid Program for Immigrants in Wake of Pandemic