Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has sent legislation to the City Council proposing about $30 million promised to communities of color, she said Tuesday.
Durkan said the legislation is based on recommendations by a 26-member Equitable Communities Initiative task force that she convened last September, after pledging $100 million for communities of color — and Black residents in particular — during the racial justice protests that erupted in Seattle and across the country last summer after police killings.
The mayor earmarked $100 million for the task force’s recommendations in her 2021 budget plan. The council shifted about $70 million of the $100 million to other processes, leaving about $30 million for the task force’s ideas.
The council reserved nearly $30 million for projects that residents will vote on in a new “participatory budgeting” system in 2022; restored a $30 million fund (that Durkan had eliminated) for anti-displacement real estate projects; and set aside $10 million for community safety endeavors.
Members of Durkan’s task force included nonprofit, religious, labor and community leaders. The panel met more than two dozen times. The meetings were closed to the public, though minutes were published.
Tuesday’s legislation calls for 18 kinds of investments in four areas, mostly via grants to community organizations. The council may make changes. Once the council adopts a version of the legislation, city departments will request proposals and select organizations to receive dollars.
Task force member Sharon Williams, the executive director of the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, said the panel recommended a variety of approaches to address Seattle’s affordable housing crisis, with an emphasis on homeownership opportunities and building generational wealth.
“We know that access to good jobs and access to apprenticeships are also strategies to keep people housed,” Williams said.
According to a Durkan administration presentation, the mayor is proposing that the money be spent on:
Small businesses: $7.5 million
$5 million: Grants and subsidized loans to small businesses, including those owned by people of color
$2.5 million: Consultant support for small businesses
Education: $7.5 million
$4 million: Various student and teacher programs, with focus on youth of color
$2 million: Cultural programs aimed at youth of color
$1.5 million: Programs for youth involved in the criminal-legal system
Health: $6.2 million
$750,000: Healthy-food programs aimed at communities of color
$250,000: Farm-to-table programs aimed at youth of color
$550,000: Environmental justice grants for community organizations that focus on people of color
$1.5 million: Innovative healing programs at community health centers
$1 million: Efforts to secure health care for residents without coverage, with focus on communities of color
$1.7 million: Programs helping residents of color with health care careers
$500,000: Health care mentorships and internships for youth of color
Housing: $8.8 million
$4.6 million: Subsidized homeownership projects, with target outreach to households of color
$875,000: Help for homeowners to keep their properties
$250,000: Study on potential lease-to-own program
$250,000: Consultant work on housing for union apprentices
$1 million: City contracting help for construction businesses owned by women and people of color
$1.8 million: Wealth-building education for residents, artists and business owners of color