Unsheltered homelessness task force seeks immediate solutions

Mayor Murray today announced the members of his Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness. Murray has tasked the group, chaired by Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, with making recommendations by Dec. 15 to help the growing number of people who are living on the streets to find shelter during the coming winter.

“We remain very concerned about vulnerable people who don’t have a warm bed to sleep in at night,” said Kim. “We must review all the options for increasing the number of available beds before winter weather sets in. Exposure to the elements can be deadly, especially for those struggling with chronic health issues.”

The emergency task force’s membership reflects diverse perspectives from those who serve and advocate for homeless people, provide program funding, represent diverse communities of faith, neighborhoods, and businesses, as well as individuals who themselves have experienced homelessness.

Seattle makes an annual investment of around $9 million for 2,390 shelter beds, but the homeless population in Seattle continues to outpace space available in shelters.

During last January’s count of unsheltered homeless people, Seattle’s One Night Count, more than 2,300 individuals were found sleeping in cars or on the streets. Since 2010, the unsheltered homeless population in Seattle has increased by 30 percent.

The mayor has charged the group with advancing the conversation on how the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions in the region can work together, alongside private non-profit organizations and communities of faith, to reduce homelessness and serve the needs of homeless families and individuals.

The emergency task force will also review the City’s current policy on authorized homeless encampments. The review will include where encampments are located, how new sites for legal encampments are identified and how neighborhoods are consulted.

The emergency task force will hold its first meeting on Oct. 23rd in a private work session. Public meetings will be held Nov. 6 and Nov. 18 (locations to be announced later), followed by a private work session on Dec. 8.

Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness
Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, Chair
Lamar Campbell, Mockingbird Society Youth Network
Mary Ann DeVry, West Seattle Interfaith Network
Dee Dunbar, Friends of Lewis Park
Alison Eisinger, Seattle/King County Coalition On Homelessness
Anitra Freeman, SHARE/WHEEL
Kathy Gerard, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare
Bill Hallerman, Catholic Community Services
Tim Harris, Real Change
Rex Hohlbein, Facing Homelessness
Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute
Louise Little, University District Partnership
Nicole Macri, Downtown Emergency Services Center
Pastor Robert Manaway, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
Vince Matulionis, United Way
Katy Miller, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
Melanie Neufeld, Seattle Mennonite Church
Quynh Pham, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority
Mark Putnam, Committee to End Homelessness
Michael Ramos, Greater Church Council
Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
Leslie Smith, Pioneer Square Alliance
Trai Williams, Mockingbird Society Youth Network
Member of the Board of Parks Commissioners to be named later

Murray proposes 2015-16 budget

mayor before council budget speech

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today presented to the City Council his proposed budget for 2015-16 that brings more transparency, more innovation, better organization and better performance to City government.

Murray outlined several major reform proposals, beginning with key reforms to the City’s budgeting process itself.

“We will move toward a performance-based budgeting system and begin paying for outcomes,” said Murray in his budget address to Council. “This will lead to streamlining of services, better use of resources and greater performance from our departments. And, perhaps most importantly, it will drive better service for the people of Seattle.”

Murray’s additional proposed reforms to the City’s budgeting process include:

  • moving City departments to a standard accounting system;
  • conducting a zero-based budgeting exercise for a least two City departments for a better accounting of baseline expenditures;
  • launching an interactive, online “Open Budget” tool on the model of the City of Boston’s tool for greater transparency in City spending;
  • developing performance metrics for all City departments for more efficiency and accountability;
  • launching an online dashboard to track department performance and provide greater transparency and accountability; and
  • establishing an advisory committee on the model of the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council to provide greater transparency and better performance.

“We will use data – not tradition – to drive how our government functions,” Murray said.

Murray also proposed what he said will be ‘a major restructuring of how we as a City plan for our future.’

“We will look across departments to establish new best practices of coordinated planning,” said Murray, “so that as we plan, we plan together, and when we build new housing, we are also planning new jobs, parks and transportation to support them.”

And, Murray said he has tasked Human Services Director John Okamoto to conduct an audit of the City’s nearly $35 million annual investment in homeless services and to compare City spending against national best practices.

“On any given night, there are at least 2,300 unsheltered individuals on our city streets – and very likely there are more,” said Murray. “It is time for us to learn if a better budgeting approach here in City Hall will create better outcomes for individuals living right now on the streets of this city.”

In his address to Council, Murray restated his priorities of a safe, affordable, vibrant and interconnected city for all. Highlights of Murray’s 2015-16 budget by priority area are available by clicking here.

Murray also said his budget shows how cities can be ‘an incubator of change’ and ‘a laboratory of democracy’ by funding ‘bold policy experimentation,’ including:

“These budget commitments demonstrate a City government flexible enough to reorganize around our priorities and support new policy that reflects the evolving needs of our communities,” Murray said.

As the centerpiece of his agenda for a more affordable city, Murray said that he would announce with Council the members, structure and timeframe for action of his Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on September 23 at 10:30 a.m. on the Seventh Floor of City Hall.

City Council will begin the hearings on the budget proposal on October 2nd.

To learn more about Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-16 budget please visit here.

Watch the speech:

Neighbors invited to Capitol Hill ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk

Find It Fix It Community Walk

Mayor Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 17. This is the eighth walk hosted by the mayor in neighborhoods around the city.

At the events, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at: http://murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit

Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It Community Walk:
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
E. Olive St. and 11th Ave.
Meet at Cal Anderson Park Shelterhouse (Map)

6:30 – 6:45 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole and department representatives.

6:45 – 8:00 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • East on E. Olive St.
  • South on 12th Ave.
  • West on E. Pike St.
  • North on Broadway
  • East on E. Howell St.

8:00 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/public-safety-strategy-for-seattle.

Murray on oil trains: ‘More must be done to reduce the chance of disaster’

Last year, U.S. railroads moved 11 times more crude oil than all the oil moved by trains from 2005 to 2009. As oil train traffic has increased, so have associated tragedies, with stories of spilled crude and fiery explosions spanning the continent. These trains typically carry 100 tank cars — each carry about 29,000 gallons — and they extend 1 to 1.5 miles.

Yet, virtually every day, trains run across and under Seattle’s city streets. Mayor Murray strongly believes the City of Seattle must do everything we can to reduce the risks of catastrophic events. Recently, the Mayor hosted a productive meeting with Matt Rose, BNSF’s Executive Chairman. The following letter is a summary of that meeting.

Seattle is asking BNSF to help make Seattle safer:

BNSF Letter

What the City is doing to make Seattle safer:

Tactical planning: The Seattle Fire Department, in cooperation with BNSF, has traveled the rail corridor from Everett to Tukwila and developed three distinct response zones based on topography, access and particular conditions along the rail corridor through Seattle.

Incident preparedness: The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) would activate to coordinate unity of citywide efforts focused on a set of objectives based on these priorities:

  • Life safety
  • Incident stabilization
  • Property conservation
  • Environmental protection

Emergency response and recovery planning: EOC activities would include public warnings, stakeholder updates, provisions of logistical resources needed by field crews, coordination of multi-agency plans of action, resolution of any policy issues, activation of any necessary mutual aid agreements, evacuation and/or sheltering of displaced populations, coordination with hospitals and Public Health, and more.

Seattle Fire has developed specific tactical considerations for this type of incident and sends their hazardous materials technicians to specialized oil train response training.

Seattle Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management will appear before Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday, September 16th at 2 p.m. to discuss the City’s disaster preparedness plans.

What the City is asking our partners to do to make Seattle safer:

City representatives are involved with the Washington State Department of Ecology’s study on Marine and Rail Oil Transportation to analyze the risks to public health and safety, and the environmental impacts associated with the transport of oil in Washington state.

At the federal level, the City plans to comment on proposed US Department of Transportation (USDOT) rules that address new requirements for oil spill response plans and rail operations and equipment. Separately, Mayor Murray and members of City Council have written letters to support the USDOT emergency order prohibiting the shipment of Bakken oil in legacy tank cars, which are more susceptible to puncture and explosion.

Washington’s congressional delegation has also made oil train safety a priority and continues to work with Seattle and the region to find ways to protect our citizens, resources and property.

Murray announces $3.3 million for new officers and $2.75 million for human services, including $1.5 million for more homelessness services

Public Safety press conference

Mayor Murray announced that his 2015-16 budget to be formally proposed on Sept. 22 will make new investments in public safety and the safety net, and today provided detail for his plans to fund best practices both in the police department and in homelessness services.

“This administration will use the budget process to drive more transparency and innovation in City government, as well as better organization and performance,” said Murray. “Public safety is our number one priority, and my budget for the police department reflects these basic budgeting principles by investing in best management practices, better use of data and more effective use of resources to get better outcomes.”

Murray’s 2015-16 budget for the Seattle Police Department will propose funding more civilian expertise, including a civilian Chief Operating Officer and a civilian Chief Information Officer for improved operations and systems management and innovation. The COO has been hired, and has already implemented CompStat, the crime and disorder data tracking and analysis method made famous by Commissioner William Bratton in New York City in the 1990s, where it was credited with reducing crime by 60 percent.

“CompStat will take the police department to the next level in observing, mapping and tracking patterns of crime and disorder, and in mobilizing, analyzing and evaluating officer response,” said Murray. “It is a major reform that I believe is the key to our future success in crime prevention, in efficient and effective deployment of SPD resources, and in police accountability.”

CompStat will be used in conjunction with the “micro-policing plans” that Chief Kathy O’Toole will deliver and make publicly available by the end of 2014, Murray said. The plans will reflect the specific needs and circumstances of each of the unique neighborhoods of the city, and are intended to reconnect officers with the communities they serve. CompStat will provide timely and accurate data to inform an ever-evolving patrol strategy, focusing resources on areas of concern and ensuring that police are present and visible where needed most.

Murray said O’Toole is also conducting a resource allocation study of position assignments within the department, and will seek to reassign officers from lower priority work to the high-priority work of patrol wherever possible. Additionally, Murray’s 2015-16 budget will propose $3.3 million to fill every recruit class available to the City of Seattle at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center in both 2015 and 2016.

“I pledged during the campaign that we would add one hundred fully trained officers by the end of my four-year term, and my budget proposal puts us on a stable path to get there,” said Murray. “By the end of 2015, based on current forecasts for attrition, we will be halfway toward my goal of one hundred additional officers, and my next two-year budget will plan to close the remaining gap. By the end of 2016, my budget will fund the highest number of fully trained officers in SPD’s history.”

Murray said his 2015-16 budget proposal will fully fund compliance with the federal court order.

Murray also announced plans in his 2015-16 budget to add $2.75 million in new investments in human services. He said his proposal will leverage new resources for homelessness services in particular, including expanding the best-practice strategy of rapid rehousing, and creating capacity at homeless shelters by moving long-term stayers into permanent housing – a suite of new investments in homelessness services totaling $1.5 million annually in 2015 and 2016.

“Investments in rapid rehousing are more successful and less costly than any other strategy for assisting unsheltered individuals,” said Murray. “I signed onto the First Lady’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015, and my budget proposal includes funding for a rapid rehousing program targeted at veterans that will help us achieve this important goal.”

Murray’s 2015-16 budget will propose $600,000 annually to fund a program for 150 homeless single adults, targeting veterans, to receive rapid placement into housing, rental assistance, and employment support. Murray’s budget proposal will also fund efforts to move 25 of the longest-term stayers at homeless shelters into permanent housing, which will free up 3,375 shelter bed nights.

“There are more than 2,300 individuals living unsheltered in Seattle on any given night, and emergency shelters are at capacity, said Murray, who said his budget proposal commits $410,000 annually to provide subsidies for rental assistance, congregate housing or shared housing for long-term stayers, and leverages funding from the United Way of King County in a dollar-for-dollar match. “Shelters are meant to serve a temporary need, but a number of individuals are staying in shelters long term, to where one quarter of shelter users consume three quarters of shelter bed nights. Moving long-term stayers into permanent housing will help those individuals and increase shelter bed capacity for those currently without shelter.”

Additional human service investments in Murray’s 2015-16 budget include:

  • A one-time matching contribution toward the capital redevelopment of the North Public Health Center located near North Seattle Community College ($500,000),
  • Mitigating proposed budget cuts at Seattle/King County Public Health ($400,000), including:

o   Supporting maternity services; women, infant and children services; and family planning services at Greenbridge Public Health Center ($150,000)

o   Access and outreach services for new enrollments in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act,

o   Family planning health educators ($50,000),

o   HIV/STD education and outreach ($50,000),

o   Gun violence prevention ($50,000)

  • Funding for an additional 40,000 to 100,000 lbs. of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, or other proteins for more than 40 participating food banks, meal programs, and other providers ($100,000),
  • Support for the Breakfast Group Mentoring Program, a program providing young men of color in Seattle Public Schools with wrap-around services, individualized instruction plans and mentoring to complete their secondary education and access higher education or employment opportunities ($100,000),
  • Support for the Rainier Valley Corp to recruit emerging leaders from diverse immigrant communities and provide training, support and mentorship ($75,000), and
  • Funding to fill a gap in senior center services in Lake City ($70,000).

Video from the press conference

Neighbors invited to Chinatown-/International District ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk

Find It Fix It Community Walk

Mayor Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to Seattle’s Chinatown/International District on Thursday, Sept. 11. This is the seventh walk hosted by the mayor in neighborhoods around the city.

At the events, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at: http://murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit

Chinatown/International District Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Thursday, Sept. 11, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
S. King St. and Maynard Ave. S.
Meet at Hing Hay Park (Map)

6:00 – 6:15 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.

6:15 – 7:30 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • West on S. King St.
  • North on 5th Ave. S.
  • East on S. Jackson St.
  • South on 12th Ave. S.
  • West on S. King St.

7:30 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

Another ‘Find It, Fix It’ walk is scheduled for Sept. 17th on Capitol Hill.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/public-safety-strategy-for-seattle.

Next ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk set for Lake City neighborhood Aug. 25

Find It Fix It Community Walk - Rainier Beach

Mayor Ed Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to a sixth neighborhood in Seattle on Monday, Aug. 25.

At the walks, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at: http://murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit

The next Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Monday, Aug. 25, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
NE 125th & 30th St NE
Meet at the Lake City Mini Park (Map)

7 – 7:15 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Sen. David Frockt, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.

7:15 – 8:30 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • Head East on on NE 125th
  • North on 33rd Ave NE
  • West on NE 130th St
  • South on 30th Ave NE
  • West on NE 127th St
  • South on 28th Ave NE
  • East on NE 125th St

8:30 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

Future ‘Find It, Fix It’ walks will be held on Sept. 11th in the International District and on Sept. 17th on Capitol Hill.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/public-safety-strategy-for-seattle.

Murray on Ferguson events: ‘This is a moment to reflect and learn for every city in this country’

Mayor Murray today made the following statement about the events that have occurred in Ferguson, Missouri this week:

“I have been watching the events unfold in Ferguson, Missouri like most of the country. The death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, has reminded all of us about the enormous trust citizens place in their police service. This is a moment to reflect and learn for not just Ferguson, but for every city in this country — including Seattle.

I have been watching the Ferguson police response to peaceful demonstrators and journalists with the same concern I am hearing from people in Seattle. A police service should not suppress the rights of the press to cover news events, nor should peaceful protestors be threatened with militarized force.

Police reform and public safety remain my top priorities. I hired Chief O’Toole who has a proven record of police reform. Together we are building the world’s most responsible, accountable, bias-free and transparent police service. As we’ve already seen by O’Toole’s actions, change is underway. Together we will continue to watch and learn from the events in Ferguson as they unfold.

I want to conclude by offering my condolences to Michael Brown’s family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through this difficult time.”

KPLU: ‘Find It, Fix It’ walks urge South Seattle residents to point out problems

Find It Fix It Community Walks

Today, KPLU featured Mayor Murray’s Find It, Fix It Community Walks that have been held in South Seattle throughout the summer.

“Imagine being able to turn to the person walking next to you and say, ‘Could you fix that streetlight?’ That’s been the experience for people in south Seattle who’ve taken part this summer in what Mayor Ed Murray calls ‘Find It, Fix It’ walks.”

Listen to the full piece here or on KPLU.org:

The City’s next Find It, Fix It walk will be held tomorrow at 7 p.m. beginning at Rainier Beach Community Center.

City invites neighbors to participate in fifth ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk

Find It Fix It Community Walks

Mayor Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to a fifth neighborhood in Seattle next Tuesday, August 12.

At the walks, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at: http://murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit

The next Find It, Fix It Community Walk:
Tuesday, August 12, 7 – 9 p.m., Rainier Ave. and Henderson
Meet at the Rainier Beach Community Center Plaza (Map)

7 – 7:15 p.m.

  • Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.

7:15 – 9 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • South on Rainier Ave S.
  • East to Seward Park Ave S.
  • North on Seward Park Ave S.
  • West on S. Fisher Place
  • North on 53rd Ave S.
  • West on S. Henderson
  • North on Rainier Ave S. to Cloverdale
  • Return south to Rainier Beach Community Center

9 p.m.

  • Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/public-safety-strategy-for-seattle.