September 21, 1:11 PM click here to comment > 3
Investing in downtown public safety through the Center City Initiative
We’ve written in the past about our Center City Initiative (CCI), a collaborative effort between the mayor, Councilmembers Rasmussen and Bagshaw, and downtown neighborhood stakeholders to help make downtown Seattle streets more safe, inviting and vibrant. Our CCI team, with representatives from City departments, other government organizations, social service agencies, neighbors, businesses and other stakeholders, have identified a number of priorities to work on and are moving forward on dozens of projects, small and large.
Today we are pleased to announce that our 2013-2014 Proposed Budget will support the priorities of the Center City Initiative, adding millions in resources dedicated to improving quality of life in our downtown neighborhoods. Here’s how.
Supporting people in need with a new Outreach and Engagement Team
We will fund a new Outreach and Engagement Team in the Seattle Police Department that will offer access to services and interventions for people in mental health crisis and other at-risk populations in downtown neighborhoods. This team will include a mental health professional funded by the Union Gospel Mission and the Metropolitan Improvement District. SPD will receive $150,000 annually to provide officers for the Outreach and Engagement Team. HSD will receive $133,000 in funding to hire formerly homeless individuals as peer-to-peer liaisons. Working with the Outreach and Engagement Team, the liaisons will help identify and engage homeless people living in downtown streets on a personal level and connect them with specialized and targeted services.
Third Avenue corridor upgrades
We are investing $1 million in important capital upgrades to Third Avenue in downtown. These improvements include a major sidewalk expansion and enhancement near Macy’s department store, upgrading all remaining pedestrian signals to countdown signals, and re-marking all faded crosswalks in the corridor.
Hiring new police officers
The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget includes funding to allow SPD to hire 10 additional police officers. These additional positions will allow SPD to continue meeting or exceeding the outcome objectives defined in the Neighborhood Policing Plan (NPP), as well as relieve the pressure on overtime use resulting from the increased emphasis patrols that have been activated in 2012 in response to crime “hot spots” around the city.
Supporting our youth to protect public safety
Protecting public safety means more than just hiring more police officers. We have to offer programs and services that get our young people engaged in positive activities and off the streets. The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget expands hours at Yesler Community Center (and at six other community centers), and adds $1.68 million to expand the City’s successful Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) to serve 450 more at-risk youth.
Expanding support for homeless families
Providing support to the increasing number of homeless families remains a challenge. The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget expands funding to assist homeless families with children through a national best practices service model that incorporates expanded outreach and engagement, coordinated entry and assessment, family reconciliation, diversion and progressive engagement models to rapidly move families from homelessness to housing. The collection of services provided in the 2013-2014 Proposed Budget increases the City’s funding commitment to these services by $620,000.
Posted by: April Thomas